Praise for The Pox Lover
“In a voice both powerful and cool, The Pox Lover takes on a sprawling personal history, deeply aware throughout that it is the politics of anyone’s day—and how we respond to it—that shapes a life. Never far from the mad joy of writing, loving, and being alive, even as it investigates our horribly mundane capacity for horror, this book is a masterpiece.”
—Michelle Tea, author of Black Wave
“A haunting contribution to the record of the AIDS era.”
—Laura Flanders, author of Bushwomen: Tales of a Cynical Species
“Reminiscent of the luscious lesbian literature of the Parisian past, but propelled into the era of AIDS, ACT UP, and the Lesbian Avengers. D’Adesky’s memoir also reveals her family’s role in French colonialism, raising compelling questions about privilege, survival, homophobia, and dislocation.”
—Sarah Schulman, author of The Cosmopolitans
“A necessary book. We need such a chronicle.”
—Felice Picano, author of Like People in History
Amazon Reader Reviews
a specific zeitgeist queer cultural moment: Both personal and political, intimate and expansive, d'Adesky's unusual memoir covers her own life, her AIDS activism, journalism and travels in New York and Paris, with a bit in London and elsewhere. The writing is personal in her romances with various women. But that's tied in to her activism, and the friendships that blossom from the groups like ACT UP and Lesbian Avengers. I felt close to those passages, having also been in New York City in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was sad and beautiful to read about mutual friends in their final years and months.
But the work expands in Paris, where mysterious hallucinatory characters guide her passion for research through library archives into the dark and violent past of French history in both previous decades and centuries, some of it perhaps connected to her family's roots. Death and disease provide connections to her then-immediate concerns with a friend who's seroconverted. Discovering stories about her Haitian childhood, fights taken on by French anti-fascists and others, weave through her entries with a fervent passion, a political awareness combined with evocative descriptions.
An excerpt (page 224): "We're living in a unique cultural, social, and political moment. We're part of a particular generation of LGBT culture makes and feminist activists and the way we're living and trying to love, and make family, and play, and make work is all part of that feeling I get, that we're in a moment, a specific zeitgeist queer cultural moment."
I couldn't put it down! This melange of memoir and many other genres is a fascinating read. Taking place in the 1990s in Paris and New York, with time spent in New Orleans, Viet Nam, Haiti, London, and elsewhere, this wide-ranging experimental exploration cum confessional vividly conveys the author's anger, angst and amours at the height of the AIDS years. Highly recommended!