From Library Journal
In his multiple roles as pioneer AIDS activist (he was cofounder of Gay Men's Health Crisis and founder of ACT-UP), novelist (Faggots), playwright (The Normal Heart), and OscarR-nominated screenwriter (Women in Love), Kramer is one of the most important?and controversial?figures in contemporary gay America. Mass, another cofounder of GMHC, has edited a stimulating collection of essays by 22 writers who address Kramer's life, politics, and literary and theatrical careers. Contributors include fellow gay writers (Andrew Holleran, Tony Kushner, Chris Bram), academics (John D'Emilio, John Clum), fellow activists (Arnie Kantrowitz, Maxine Wolfe), acquaintances (Calvin Trillin), and even persons who have been attacked by Kramer (e.g., doctors and health officials). Mass also contributes an excellent interview and a perceptive (if somewhat self-centered) introduction. This is not a simple paean to Kramer; the texts touch on many central issues of the modern gay movement. As the first book devoted entirely to this central figure, it belongs in all collections of gay studies and contemporary political activism.?Robert W. Melton, Univ. of Kansas Libs., Lawrence
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
A diverse group of writers, academics, physicians, and social activists reflect, with varying levels of insight and eloquence, on the career of playwright and AIDS provocator Larry Kramer. Mass (Confessions of a Jewish Wagnerite: Being Gay and Jewish in America, 1994), a friend of Kramer's and a cofounder with him and several others of the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), edits this collection of essays by 23 contributors, including playwright Tony Kushner, book editor Michael Denneny, and former GMHC director Rodger McFarlane. Their different backgrounds illustrate the mix of themes in Kramer's own life. Patrick Merla introduces readers to Kramer's major public achievements: the film Women in Love, which Kramer produced; his novel, Faggots; his plays, The Normal Heart and The Destiny of Me; AIDS organizations GMHC and Act-Up. The scope of Kramer's life and work is not so large that this collection can escape being wearisomely repetitive. The best essays relate a focused piece of Kramer's life, politics, or art to a broader framework, such as the history of gay theater, the African-American community, heterosexual families, or W.H. Auden's poetry (in pieces by Michael Paller, Canaan Parker, Sarah Trillin, and Alfred Corn, respectively). In an elegiac essay, Andrew Holleran reflects on the gay artist's world of the past 20 years, and Kramer's successful negotiation within it of the writer's block that is AIDS. Kramer himself has the last word, in an interview that closes the book, leaving the reader with a sense of his genuine, if conflicted, humanity. Tributes to those still living run the risk of grandiosity, to which the long collection sometimes succumbs; all but fervent admirers of Kramer's should read selectively. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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