The bestselling author is back with a chronicle of his exasperating love life in New York City following addiction and recovery.
In his latest autobiographical story, Burroughs (This Is How, 2012, etc.) traces his frustrating track record with men and eternal search for true love in the big city. He opens with a break in his long-held sobriety in the mid-1990s, during which he landed a date with Mitch, a “deeply odd,” gay writer—in fact, the author of one of Burroughs’ “favorite books.” They fell for each other quickly and entered into an up-and-down relationship. At the beginning of the book, the author intersperses these episodes with snippets of history from his early life in advertising in Boston and driving cross-country to San Francisco. A love affair with a man named George followed, but George’s death, which introduces the book’s commanding center section, threw Burroughs into a drunken spiral of bed-wetting and compulsive QVC gem-buying marathons, which inspired his 2000 novel Sellevision. Romantic feelings for Christopher, his agent at the time, derailed when Christopher divulged his HIV-positive status. The deflated author then went on a dating spree with men who weren’t “medically off limits.” Throughout, Burroughs is hypercritical of his love interests—e.g., the fine lines around Mitch’s eyes gave him a “ravaged by time” look. Some readers may find that the author’s early impressions of dating someone with AIDS are insensitive. However, he writes colorfully of his time with “normal and stable” Dennis, with whom he had a powerful yet different kind of relationship “because I was sober and actually experiencing it”; the relationship waxed and waned through passion, conflict, disillusionment, and an eventual separation. An admittance of his undeniable love for Christopher, who had since battled cancer but was game for the challenge of loving the writer unconditionally, opens the third part of this serpentine dating memoir, which ends with bright beams of contentment and happiness.
A satisfying success story from a reliably outspoken raconteur.