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The Normal Heart and the Destiny of Me Paperback – September 18, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; 1st Grove Press ed edition (September 18, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802136923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802136923
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The Normal Heart, set during the early days of the AIDS epidemic, is the impassioned story of Ned Weeks. The play is a moving denunciation of the ignorance and fear that lead to the worldwide plague that now exists. Its companion play, The Destiny of Me, continues the story of Weeks, now in a hospital undergoing treatment, as he finds himself confronting his life and fighting to get a little more time among the living.

The Normal Heart was selected as one of the 100 Greatest Plays of the Twentieth Century by the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain

"An extraordinary play! It is bracing and exciting to hear so much passion and intelligence. Kramer produces a cross fire of life-and-death energies that create a fierce and moving human drama."--Jack Kroll, Newsweek

"The blood that's coursing through The Normal Heart is boiling hot. There can be little doubt that it is the most outspoken play round."--Frank Rich, The New York Times

"Kramer's astounding drama about AIDS is too urgent to ignore! An astounding drama...a damning indictment of a nation in the middle of an epidemic with its head in the sand. It will make your hair stand on end even as the tears spurt from your eyes. Dynamite!"--Liz Smith, New York Daily News

"Wired with anger, electric with rage.... Powerful stuff."--The Boston Globe

"No one who cares about the future of the human race can afford to miss The Normal Heart."--Rex Reed

"The Normal Heart has broken a great silence.... It has put politics and journalism to shame for the cover-up of a major disaster and one of the great moral dramas of our time."--Francis Fitzgerald, author of Fire in the Lake

"Impassioned writing...explosively powerful...uniquely important."--The Advocate

"I haven't been this involved--upset-in too damn long. Kramer honors us with this stormy, articulate theatrical work."--Harold Prince

"Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart is arguably the best political play of that schizophrenic decade and definitely the definitive dramatic exploration of the early years of the AIDS crisis."--Chicago Tribune

"Larry Kramer's 1988 masterwork refuses to date."--Chicago Reader

"Kramer's play actually may work better now in the tragic hindsight of history."--Chicago Sun-Times

The Destiny of Me was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, a double Obie winner, and the recipient of the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Play of the Year.

"In The Destiny of Me, Larry Kramer has written a worthy sequel to The Normal Heart. What Kramer captures expertly in the past is family relations in their ambiguities, hostilities, and reconciliations...and almost equally skillfully in the present, the bristling relations of patient and doctor, patient and nurse.... A kind of--and this is meant as praise--Jewish-homosexual Long Day's Journey Into Night."--John Simon, New York

"Searing!"--Vanity Fair

"Gives new hope to the American theater. One of the year's ten best.... Poignant, most moving, enriching."--Time

"Overwhelmingly powerful...scaldingly honest...a seismic jolt of visceral theatricality!"--Frank Rich, The New York Times

"A harrowing, emotionally naked family-memory-AIDS play, playful and moving, personable and disturbing, with scenes of devastating counterpoint. The work of a theater artist...like Arthur Miller at his best."--Newsday

"Driven by a fierce honesty and searing pain, Kramer's emotional and moral urgency fills The Destiny of Me with irresistible human truth."--Newsweek

"A mature work by a gifted American playwright in his prime...bitter and angry and full of biting humor."--The Wall Street Journal

"The Destiny of Me is bigger than any one of us. The Long Day's Journey comparisons are apt. At long last Kramer the activist has leashed in Kramer the polemicist, letting loose Kramer the artist."--QW

"The Destiny of Me is a beautiful, somber play, very mature, and very personal. Plays are meant for presentation. Great plays also stand well as great literature. This is one of them. Kramer proves once again his place as one of the best writers of our times."--Lambda Book Report


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rafael Bueno on June 22, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While I consider myself a regular theatre-goer, I've always been aware of Kramer's plays and opinions, yet I haven't seen nor read either of these two plays. That changed this past weekend when I saw the revival of Normal Heart currently playing off-Broadway. This is a viscerally emotional piece of theatre and it makes one feel impassioned about what was going on in the world then and sheds a new light as to what's going on now in regards to the HIV/AIDS crisis. It's a must red if you don't have a chance to see it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By James Fisher on August 5, 2002
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These two plays, linked by the central character (author Larry Kramer's alter-ego), are among the most important documents related to AIDS and gay life in America in the 1980s. Although some found Kramer's activism too shrill in the 80s, he has been proven right about almost everything he foresaw in regards to AIDS. THE NORMAL HEART is a docu-drama in which Kramer sends his angry central character through all facets of American life where he discovers only apathy, failure, and cover-ups regarding the AIDS epidemic. THE DESTINY OF ME continues the story of the central character, taking a more personal approach to the AIDS epidemic and, particularly, provides a portrait of a man whose activism is driven as much by the epidemic as by his family and his personal life. THE NORMAL HEART is frequently produced and deserves to be, it appropriately raises the issues that continue to hamper the defeat of AIDS and the equality of gays and lesbians in American society. Playwright Tony Kushner's introduction is a valuable response to Kramer's significance.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By N. Sankaran on January 3, 2014
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The rating and description are mainly for the first of these two plays, "The Normal Heart," which is Kramer's angry and heart-wrenching account of the social response to AIDS in the early years of its appearance in New York. A long-time admirer of Randy Shilts' book "And the band played on" I found this to be a condensed, angrier, and more impassioned companion piece; in fact I'm assigning it as the first of three pieces on AIDS in a course I've developed on disease narratives. Kramer's play is the artist/playwright/care-giver/activist's perspective; Shilts (excerpts only) will be the journalistic viewpoint and Abraham Verghese's "My own country" rounds it out with a doctor's account.

"The Destiny of Me," while doubtless brilliant and troubling in it's own way, did not quite do it for me maybe because it was a much more personal story that I couldn't relate to. I still think it's worth a read.. but am glad that I'd decided on the former for the course. My other choice would have been "Angels in America" by Tony Kushner but ultimately I went with Kramer's play not because as it's closer to the events as they happened. What's really shocking in an eye-opening way reading this play several decades since it was written is the fact that the word AIDS does not even make an appearance once! And yet it's obvious what's being talked about. Anybody interested in human behavior, in sickness & how to cope with the fears that come with uncertainty or in this case, sheer ignorance, should read this and be outraged.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Kennedy on May 24, 2014
Format: Paperback
The plays are dynamic screams of pain felt intensely by all who experience the holocaust of the ignored. Powerful voices shatter the walls of indifference, intolerance and fear. These plays speak of and for those voices. The plays are a reminder that the AIDS crisis has relevance beyond the gay community to the community of humans all impacted by its occurrence.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Markylover92 on April 21, 2014
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Larry Kramers' writing is honest, raw and very real. It shines on topics in the LGBT community that are still relevant to today as they were almost 30 years ago. A must read for not just anyone in the LGBT community, but for anyone who has been affected by LOVE and the loss of it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alyssa Karounos on June 25, 2013
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These plays are absolutely beautiful. Larry Kramer is a wonderful playwright, activist and person. I highly recommend these plays to anyone. Service was great. The book was in great condition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Greger on June 9, 2013
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On top of being touching and heart felt I am going to see the play performed tonight here in Buffalo, NY at the BUA (Buffalo United Artist) Larry Kramer put his whole heart in this when writing it. We must remember he not only wrote it but, also lived through it as well and continues to as his health has deteriorated as well. I recommend this to anyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mathgod on February 10, 2013
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After reading about Larry Kramer in the book "And the Band Played On" by Randy Shilts (an EXCELLENT BOOK btw) I was intrigue to read "The Normal Heart" and I was very glad that I did!

Powerful and rich. This play reads very much like a book and I wasn't distracted by the stage directions as I often am when trying to read plays.
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