The Pure Lover: A Memoir of Grief

The Pure Lover: A Memoir of Grief

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by David Plante
     
 

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The Pure Lover is David Plante’s elegy to his beloved Nikos Stangos, their forty-year life together, and its tragic end. Written in vivid fragments that, like the pieces of a mosaic, come together into a glimmering whole, it shows us both the wild nature of grief and the intimate conversation that is love.

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Overview

The Pure Lover is David Plante’s elegy to his beloved Nikos Stangos, their forty-year life together, and its tragic end. Written in vivid fragments that, like the pieces of a mosaic, come together into a glimmering whole, it shows us both the wild nature of grief and the intimate conversation that is love.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Michael Dirda
…despite the subtitle and the repeated use of "wrenching" in its dust jacket blurbs…The Pure Lover leaves one exalted rather than depressed. To me, it recalls both The Orchard, Harry Mathews's similarly pointillist portrait of his friend, the experimental novelist Georges Perec, and Gore Vidal's unblinking account in Point to Point Navigation of the illness and death of his longtime partner, Howard Austen…It would be going too far to call this evocation of a beloved companion now lost a pure pleasure to read. But out of the fragments, Proustian moments and sharply felt memories of a happy and painful past, David Plante has made a lovely book, joyful, plangent and true.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
In this simple, heartfelt memoir, author Plante (The Family, American Ghosts) shares a series of disjointed memories about his lover for 40 years, the recently deceased Nikos. Reflecting the way longtime partners become one, even Nikos's earliest first-person recollections enter into Plante's memoir, including dreamy passages about Nikos's childhood in Greece: watching his mother leave, witnessing his father dying in bed, attending college in the U.S. Having met in London in their mid-20s, Plante and Nikos immediately began a relationship that would last a lifetime. Readers unfamiliar with either man's literary legacy won't get much of an education; references to their careers are sparing, and the absence not only keeps readers at arm's-length, but gives the material an unanchored feel. The book ultimately seems written for an audience of two, rather than a general readership; Plante's intimate, guarded tone keeps readers feeling like intruders.
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From the Publisher
“How a book can be at once so raw and so artful is a mystery; The Pure Lover joins a handful of necessary volumes that speak directly from grief’s wild, inconsolable center, and readers will find it bracing, unflinching, and honest to the core.”
—Mark Doty, author of Heaven’s Coast
 
 “A wrenching and boldly intimate lament.”
—Philip Roth

The Pure Lover leaves one exalted . . . A lovely book, joyful, plangent and true.”
—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

The Pure Lover is a short but moving elegy. . . . It’s a difficult subject, handled with lyricism, pain, indiscretion and love.”
—Margaret Drabble, New Statesman

“David Plante’s fine meditation on love and loss is the work of one who has been there and who knows that it is the dying who are losing all and that the grief we obtain is the survivor’s treasure.”
—Edward Albee
 
“Innovative and incantatory . . . Bracingly poignant . . . A cumulative portrait, taken in snapshots, of a long-term gay relationship that’s as valid a marriage as any other.”
—Jason Roush, The Gay and Lesbian Review
 
“A fierce encapsulation of grief, the fundamentally private wrought wrenchingly public. This sublime remembrance—more a compilation of memory fragments than a linear life story—evokes a whole man (in truth, two whole men).”
—Richard Labonte, Book Marks: Best of 2009

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807072998
Publisher:
Beacon Press
Publication date:
09/01/2009
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
351 KB

Meet the Author

David Plante has published more than a dozen novels, including The Family, The Woods, and The Country, as well as the nonfiction books Difficult Women and American Ghosts. His work has appeared in many periodicals, including The New Yorker and The Paris Review, and has been nominated for a National Book Award. The Pure Lover was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and the Randy Shilts Publishing Triangle Award.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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The Pure Lover: A Memoir of Grief 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Loves2ReadJS More than 1 year ago
David Plante's recounting of his meeting Nikos Stangos and their subsequent forty year relationship is a gift to the reader. It is both heartwarming and heartbreaking in its examining a relationship and the person loved. The beginning of the memoir is a brief retelling of Nikos' personal history - sometimes directed to Nikos as though he might offer a correction in a detail left out. It gives an account of their meeting and time together and apart - it isn't extensive, but a reflection back or overview - an expression of feeling and honoring the memory of two people whose relationship spanned decades. For some reason, the image of Monet's Water Lilies as a comparison comes to mind as a beautiful impression rather than exact likeness. David Plante's honesty particularly when recounting Nikos last days is the embodiment of the vows, ". from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part". The memoir is not depressing or bogged down in grief but a tribute to love and relationships.