Later: My Life at the Edge of the World

Paul Lisicky. Graywolf, $16 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-64445-016-1
A writer recalls his search for love and community in Provincetown, Mass., during the AIDS epidemic in this melodramatic memoir. Fiction writer and memoirist Lisicky (The Narrow Door) spent several years in the early 1990s in Provincetown, a Cape Cod resort, artist’s colony, and gay mecca, doing a writing fellowship and trying to sort out his late-20s life. He found the town an exhilarating haven, where he could finally live his homosexuality loud and proud—“Hey, do you want to get high and have sex?” inquired one random guy on the street shortly after he arrived—but also a death-haunted place where recently healthy acquaintances faded from AIDS before his eyes. Lisicky finds affecting moments of pathos in the declining health and deaths of friends (“The churches in Town turn their backs on the sick in Town, but that is not why I turned my back on God”). Unfortunately, much of the book’s endlessly complex and neurotic rumination is lavished on trivial matters: casual hookups in the dunes; longer-term relationships, riddled with small insecurities and betrayals, that feel paper-thin; and simple mishaps (“It feels like the toppling is connected to some secret instinct in myself that is driven to ruin,” he frets when a fake oversized ice-cream cone he is wearing in a parade falls off his head). The result is a callow and uninvolving coming-of-age narrative. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 11/26/2019
Release date: 03/17/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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