Saturday, March 19, 2011
Augusten Burroughs is a professional memoirist-- perhaps you know his childhood house of horrors, Running with Scissors, which was made into an even more nightmarish film. Dry is about several things in the life of this 20-something gay man living in New York (of course), but mostly it's about being a drunk and treating your friends less than well (especially the dying one, infelicitiously named "Pighead"). (See my blog about Bill Clegg below, then cut and paste here-- would that all addicts made $200,000 a year and could afford stay-in rehab at a cool $13,000 a week.) The problem is that we don't much care about Augusten in the end, which of course is faux-hopeful (as the recovery genre demands). His family sued him after Running with Scissors, I'm told. Got the picture?
Monday, January 17, 2011
Keeping to my rule only to read books when I can find them used, I've just read Andrew Holleran's 2006 novel, Grief. It's the first of the four of his I've read that I like without qualification. Brief, elegaic, true: it's a Washington DC novel (really a novella) without politics; a novel about Mary Todd Lincoln without Lincoln; an AIDS book where no one (probably) has it. It's about grief, yes, the Narrator has lost his mother as well as his Generation; not to mention his own youth and its past pleasures. Most of all, though, it's a novel about ageing, and ageing when one is --was-- a male homosexual. The Narrator's landlord is a 50-something gay man who still runs personal ads in the paper, though no relationship will ever the trump the one has has with his dying dog. Frank, that rare character who actually has a name, is a survivor of cancer but not much else. As I gear up to write my own novel about ageing (Walk Run Crawl won't be this sad, nor will it be this good), Holleran's Grief hasn't so much given me ideas, as it has reminded me that growing old is not, as they say, for sissies.