The Waters of Thirst

Adam Mars-Jones, Author
Adam Mars-Jones, Author Knopf Publishing Group $20 (183p) ISBN 978-0-679-41941-9
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-679-75960-7
Hardcover - 978-0-517-17873-7
Hardcover - 192 pages - 978-0-571-17032-6
Hardcover - 978-0-571-17369-3
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The landscape of AIDS that Mars-Jones so eloquently explored in his short stories ( Monopolies of Loss ) is conspicously absent from this novel, a digressive first-person monologue. William, a voice-over actor in London, has been in a monogamous relationship with Terry since before the advent of the disease. The shadow of illness still haunts the story, however, in the form of William's debilitating kidney ailment. William's narration brims with unfulfilled desires: for food he cannot eat, for a motorcyclist he imagines as a potential organ donor, for an American porn star whose career he tracks. His bitterness has made him insensitive to the epidemic around him. ``I'd been at home, mostly, nursing my strength, tending my lover,'' he says in defense of his unawareness of AIDS. Ironically, an unsuccessful kidney transplant propels him into a hospital AIDS ward: ``After such a long time of going my own way I rejoined my generation in its place of special suffering,'' he says in yet another careless statement about a generation that changed without him. Though Mars-Jones's writing is fluid and polished, his oblique approach robs William's relationship, and life, of resonance. (Mar.)
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