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AN INDEFINITE SENTENCE

A PERSONAL HISTORY OF OUTLAWED LOVE AND SEX

A gripping memoir about a gay man with feet in India and the U.S. as well as a book about how to put together a life.

A public health visionary gets personal with a powerful exploration of “the beguiling possibilities of gender beyond the conventional bipolarity of male and female, and the mysterious, limitless permutations of sexual desire.”

World Policy Institute senior fellow Dube (Sex, Lies, and AIDS, 2001, etc.) was born in Calcutta and is known for his work on poverty and AIDS. In this memoir, published in India in 2015, he recounts his journey to come out as a young gay man in India and America and his efforts to find a loving relationship in midlife. Much of the book, which begins when the author was 10 in 1971, reads like a novel, and he delivers many moving descriptions of various gay coming-of-age moments—e.g., the first time he was tested for HIV and his encounter with a Keith Haring mural, which “hit me with the force that Picasso’s Guernica had.” Equally affecting is Dube’s inquiry into the ways in which his personal and professional lives have intersected. For example, he undertook research into the unfolding HIV crisis in India at a time when female sex workers were in the bull’s-eye of HIV discourse in India. They had, Dube writes, “spared us blame and persecution for carrying the ‘gay plague,’ ” and the author had a kinship with them—like him, they knew what it was like to feel like an outcast. Yet in his policy writing, he “deliberately chose to keep silent about what I knew for a fact, that a significant proportion of Indian men were having unprotected sex with other men, thus putting themselves at risk of contracting HIV.” Dube also offers insights into the trials of love and of middle age. His account of the end of a long-term relationship—with its pitch-perfect description of two people who still love each other who can’t admit they are breaking up—will resonate with many readers.

A gripping memoir about a gay man with feet in India and the U.S. as well as a book about how to put together a life.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5847-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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INTO THE WILD

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

FROM MEAN STREETS TO WALL STREET

Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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