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.