WE MUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER OR DIE by Lawrence D. Mass

WE MUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER OR DIE

The Life and Legacies of Larry Kramer
edited by
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A diverse group of writers, academics, physicians, and social activists reflect, with varying levels of insight and eloquence, on the career of playwright and AIDS provocator Larry Kramer. Mass (Confessions of a Jewish Wagnerite: Being Gay and Jewish in America, 1994), a friend of Kramer's and a cofounder with him and several others of the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), edits this collection of essays by 23 contributors, including playwright Tony Kushner, book editor Michael Denneny, and former GMHC director Rodger McFarlane. Their different backgrounds illustrate the mix of themes in Kramer's own life. Patrick Merla introduces readers to Kramer's major public achievements: the film Women in Love, which Kramer produced; his novel, Faggots; his plays, The Normal Heart and The Destiny of Me; AIDS organizations GMHC and Act-Up. The scope of Kramer's life and work is not so large that this collection can escape being wearisomely repetitive. The best essays relate a focused piece of Kramer's life, politics, or art to a broader framework, such as the history of gay theater, the African-American community, heterosexual families, or W.H. Auden's poetry (in pieces by Michael Paller, Canaan Parker, Sarah Trillin, and Alfred Corn, respectively). In an elegiac essay, Andrew Holleran reflects on the gay artist's world of the past 20 years, and Kramer's successful negotiation within it of the writer's block that is AIDS. Kramer himself has the last word, in an interview that closes the book, leaving the reader with a sense of his genuine, if conflicted, humanity. Tributes to those still living run the risk of grandiosity, to which the long collection sometimes succumbs; all but fervent admirers of Kramer's should read selectively.

Pub Date: Jan. 26th, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-17704-6
Page count: 405pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1997




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