cover image The Crisis of Desire: AIDS and the Fate of Gay Brotherhood

The Crisis of Desire: AIDS and the Fate of Gay Brotherhood

Robin Hardy, David Groff. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $24 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-395-74544-1

What has AIDS done to us gay men? is a question that can only be answered one gay man at a time. Decrying New Age Bunnies who claim that AIDS is the best thing that ever happened to them, Hardy asserts that if there is redemption in living with HIV, it is only in determining that something good can be constructed in the midst of great evil, and it can only be personal. With an eclectic mix of memoir, social history, diatribe, journalism and cultural criticism, he defends and celebrates the sex-positive ways gay men have continued to connect in the face of an ongoing catastrophe. Hardy, who died in a mountaineering accident before AIDS could kill him, believed HIV is not the enemy of sex; its the antagonist of love, and that even against death, revolution can be joyful. At its most incisive, the book documents AIDSs great evil, governmental and institutional inaction and the loss of most of a generation of gay men... who would have told the rest of us how to grow old, how to be adult. Hardy was a first-rate journalist whose honesty and intelligence are most evident in his personal history, particularly his account of a Dutch lovers state-sanctioned euthanasia. The greatest strength of the book is in its portraiture and reminiscences. Although Hardy left this manuscript incomplete, editor David Groff has done an excellent job of preserving the work of an important writer. (May)