Martin and John How do you write a novel that describes the impact AIDS has had on you and still take into account all the other people who… Martin and John How do you write a novel that describes the impact AIDS has had on you and still take into account all the other people who… Drama Fiction Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Book Review

Martin and John

EW's GRADE
A

Details Writer: Dale Peck; Genres: Drama, Fiction; Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux

How do you write a novel that describes the impact AIDS has had on you and still take into account all the other people who are suffering the consequences of the disease? Dale Peck has come up with his answer in Martin and John — a book that marks the debut of a remarkably accomplished young writer.

In this kaleidoscopic novel, separate stories come together to form a shifting picture of gay life in the time of AIDS. In each fragment, a character called John tells the story. In most, a character named Martin appears as the object of desire. Always there is the threat of death — especially death by AIDS. Always John is the survivor, while Martin is out of reach, or at risk. By the end, it might be possible to say that everything has resolved into mourning over Martin's death — but that's no resolution, and Peck refuses to make it into one. It might be truer to the book to say that it simultaneously reflects one man's experience and the experiences of many men. A

Originally posted Apr 16, 1993 Published in issue #166 Apr 16, 1993 Order article reprints
Advertisement

From Our Partners