MORTAL EMBRACE: Living with AIDS by Emmanuel Dreuilhe


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A French translator's frequently inspiring, occasionally bitter journal of his three-year straggle with AIDS. The writing, metaphorical and allusive, traces the progess of the disease and the author's determination to fight its ravages. Understandably, much of the imagery is martial in tone. Dreuilhe is ""at war"" with his implacable enemy. Focusing his attention more on the emotional and psychological effects of the disease than on its physical manifestations, Dreuilhe recounts not only his own experiences but those of lovers, friends, and acquaintances similarly affected. While he is committed to fighting, others react to their diagnoses by lapsing into apathy, delirium, or even by suicide. A poignant segment describes the wasting away of a former lover and the understanding and support of the young man's mother. Dreuilhe makes a great deal of sense when he charges the American media with ""sensationalizing"" the AIDS story with its images of skeletal bodies and obsessive talk of death. Greater attention, he says, should be paid to those ""living with AIDS."" In an especially perceptive passage, the 39-year-old author evokes the solidarity of the Jewish people over the millenia and recommends a similar unity to the homosexual community. While a certain repetitiousness sets in as the book progresses, and the literary references (Proust, Homer, Virgil) often prove more distracting than revelatory, this is nonetheless a valuable tale of human courage in the age of AIDS.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1988
Publisher: Hill and Wang/Farrar, Straus & Giroux