cover image Hate: A Romance

Hate: A Romance

Tristan Garcia, trans. from the French by Marion Duvert and Lorin Stein, Faber and Faber, $14 paper (288p) ISBN 978-0-86547-911-1

Spinning out the tale of her relationships with three men in Paris from the 1980s to the present, Liz, the narrator of this disappointingly flat import, largely lets life happen around her as her friends and lovers have spectacular highs and lows. While the Liz's men friends embark on interesting lives—the HIV-positive Willie becomes an outspoken proponent of unprotected sex and finds himself a countercultural icon of sorts, while Doumé, Willie's ex and a proponent of safe sex as "the public face" of a gay-rights organization, rails against him—she watches the drama and sometimes takes a bit of abuse. Her tepid affair with married intellectual Liebo seems to keep her content, but, of course, the situation isn't exactly ideal for her or for him. Garcia's story is certainly not lacking in drama, or—thanks to flamboyant Willie—histrionics, but despite a fluid translation, there's very little to inspire interest in or empathy for characters as passive as Liz or singularly self-obsessed as the others. (Nov.)