FIRST COMES LOVE by Marion Winik
Kirkus Star


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Romance, comedy, tragedy, terrible truth, and extraordinary love, as straight woman marries gay man, bears children, and watches their world dissolve in the wake of AIDS. Winik, a commentator for National Public Radio, left an abortive love affair in New York City to spend Mardi Gras in New Orleans and found herself suddenly and inexplicably attracted to Tony, an ex-professional ice skater who was a practicing homosexual. They spent the weekend before Fat Tuesday riding buses, clearing out his old apartment, doing drugs, drinking in the few gay bars that welcomed women. It was only months before Winik moved to New Orleans to be with him, launching a partnership that was short on sex but deep in intimacy and unquestioning mutual acceptance. The prospect of a job for Tony teaching ice skating sent the couple to Austin, Tex. The ice skating job fell through, but Winik found work writing technical manuals and Tony eventually became a successful hairdresser. They married, lost their first child but bore two healthy sons, and were living happily ever after, until Tony developed HIV symptoms whose progression began to chip away at the house that their deep love had built. Tony combined his prescription drugs with street drugs, Winik had a resounding affair, and violence, deceit, and despair curdled their happiness. As Tony neared death, Winik helped him commit suicide. The places they went, from New Orleans bars to New York City jails, and the people they knew, including astutely drawn parents, friends, and siblings, are all part of the story. Winik's gift for vivid and even ennobling detail frames this remarkable memoir, moving the reader to cry and to laugh--sometimes both at the same time.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1996
ISBN: 0679765557
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Pantheon