An AIDS victim's impassioned refusal to go gently into that good night is the theme of this moving and often searing novel by French writer and journalist Guibert. In a series of diary-like chapters, reminiscent of Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year, the narrator, a homosexual writer in his early 30s, records his own first response to AIDS, as well as the way the disease insidiously begins to affect a whole community. He notes how friendships, families, and affections are tested, and sometimes--though rarely--found wanting. And he recalls how he watched an old and close friend, Muzil, die--a character based apparently on the renowned French philosopher Foucault--but thought himself immune. Finally, suspecting that he is infected, he reluctantly goes along with an old friend, Jules, a bisexual and father of two young children, to be tested. But when ``this certainty became official, even though it remained anonymous, it became intolerable.'' For a brief moment, when his blood count improves, he believes he'll survive, but then he worsens and plans his suicide. Meanwhile, despite his urgent appeals for AZT from a friend, Bill, who works for a drug company, Bill delays until it's too late. Bill, unlike his other friends, is too frightened to be a hero: ``The hero is the one helping someone who is dying, the hero is you, and maybe me as well, the one who's dying.'' He ends close to death--``my arms and legs once again as slender as they were when I was a child.'' As much as it's a story of one man, this is a novel of historic record in which not just AIDS but death itself becomes the enemy to be fought, denied even, but never defeated--no matter how strong the will or spirit. A relentlessly honest, extraordinarily truthful book.