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LUST & WONDER

A satisfying success story from a reliably outspoken raconteur.

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.

Pub Date: March 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-312-34203-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Awards & Accolades

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  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • National Book Award Winner


  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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