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Comment: The item is fairly worn but continues to work perfectly. Signs of wear can include aesthetic issues such as scratches, dents, and worn corners. All pages and the cover are intact, but the dust cover may be missing. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting, but the text is not obscured or unreadable.
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Grief Hardcover – May 31, 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. An understated, eloquent novel by Holleran (Dancer from the Dance) captures the pain of a generation of gay men who have survived the AIDS epidemic and reached middle age yearning for fidelity, tenderness and intimacy. The unnamed, silver-haired narrator has just relocated from Florida, where he cared for his recently deceased mother for the last 12 years, to Washington, D.C., to "start life over" and teach a college seminar on literature and AIDS. He rents a room in a townhouse near Dupont Circle, his solitude deepened by his awareness that he and his gay, celibate landlord, a "homosexual emeritus," form only a semblance of a household. The narrator spends his days exploring the streets of the capital and his nights engrossed in the letters of Mary Todd Lincoln, who held onto her grief and guilt at her husband's death much like the narrator hordes his guilt for never having come out of the closet to his mother—and for having survived the 1980s and '90s. Holleran makes his coiled reticence speak volumes on attachment, aging, sex and love in small scenes as compelling as they are heartbreaking. Visiting with his friend Frank, whose willful pragmatism throws the narrator's mourning in sharp relief, prove especially revealing. Frank manages to have a steady boyfriend, while for the narrator, his landlord and most of their friends, love and partnership seem impossibly intimate. Until its terse, piercing conclusion, Holleran's elegiac narrative possesses its power in the unsaid. (June)
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From Bookmarks Magazine

In his fifth work of fiction, Andrew Holleran, author of the widely praised Dancer from the Dance (1978), explores the complex issues surrounding grief while offering multifaceted impressions of Washington, D.C. Critics praised Holleran's lyrical writing, his subtle and flavorful characterizations, and the beauty of his observations—especially in his evocations of the city. Several admired Holleran's refusal to deal with grief in simplistic terms. John Freeman carped that the novel was a "talky piece of fiction" in which "dialogue nudges the narrative along." But even he admitted that "the languorous beauty of Holleran's observations gives the book bottom and weight." Most critics agree with Michael Upchurch that "this brief, quiet novel may be [Holleran's] best yet."

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 150 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; First edition (May 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401302505
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401302504
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By I. Sondel VINE VOICE on June 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
With a title like "Grief" one could reasonably expect a maudlin and depressing work of fiction. However, this latest offering from author Andrew Holleran, one of our most gifted chroniclers of the gay experience, is both elegiac and strangely optimistic at the same time.

Beginning with "Dancer from the Dance" in 1978, and continuing through the plague years with "Nights in Aruba" (novel), "Ground Zero" (essays), "The Beauty of Men" (novel) and, most recently, "In September the Light Changes" (stories), Holleran has developed a well earned reputation for addressing the needs and concerns of an aging homosexual population. His characters are survivors - not just of the AIDS scourge, but of an era of epic homophobia, intolerance and what was once referred to as the homosexual lifestyle (a repressive existence of closets, secrets and anonymous sex).

"Grief" follows our protagonist from his Gainesville home to Washington, D. C. where he has accepted a University post as guest lecturer on the Literature of AIDS. Having recently buried his invalid mother, our lonely middle-aged hero rents a room from a dapper civil servant who also deals in antiques. The two men fall into a quiet and cordial domesticity without ever forging any sort of intimate or lasting bond. For friendship he turns to his old acquaintance Frank, likewise a survivor, but one willing to embrace and exploit whatever life has left to offer. Finally there is a beautifully articulated encounter with the aged mother of a friend lost twenty years ago to AIDS.

Alone in his room he discovers a book of letters by Mary Todd Lincoln, whose documented grief stricken final years prove allegorical to this narrative.
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Format: Hardcover
The narrator in Andrew Holleran's sparse novella (150 pages) at the suggestion of a old friend Frank, goes to Washington, D. C. for a semester to teach literature in an unnamed school and rents a room in a row house from an unnamed landlord-- although we do know that his dog is named Biscuit. The narrator has been in Gainesville, Florida for the last twelve years, taking care of a mother in a nursing home. She has recently died; and he is dealing with her death in addition to being a lonely survivor of the AIDS epidemic that swept the U. S. in the early 80's-- thus the title GRIEF.

I have read practically everything Mr. Holleran ever wrote, including his many incisive columns over the years in CHRISTOPHER STREET. Along with Edmund White, Paul Russell and Colm Toibin, he is one of a small number of authors writing about the gay experience whom I will always read. He writes beautiful, descriptive prose and gives a myriad of details about his three main characters as well as the City of Washington that the narrator doesn't like very much. Holleran makes the landlord come alive: "He had his house, he had his friends, his WILL & GRACE-- and that was it. At fifty-five things had stopped happening to him, I suspected. Nothing happened to him anymore. Or rather: Everything that did had already happened before-- many, many times. . . He reminded me of an older America that had never changed its values of thrift, cleanliness, and order; the only difference was that he was homosexual. . . The homosexual part, however, was now inactive. He was now a sort of homosexual emeritus." We also learn that the landlord was more attractive now than when he was younger, although his face indicates that "his looks had not brought him peace of mind.
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Format: Hardcover
This novel is simply remarkable. I've never before read a book, written by a stranger, that was so clearly my own life story. I've never read Holleran before, and I've never met him, so how does he know all this about me? I have a feeling a lot of us will be saying that when we finish reading GRIEF.

My city is New York, not Washington, but otherwise I could be Holleran's unnamed protagonist. I'm a writer, gay, 50, and alone. My family is dead, and I can't count the number of people in my life I've lost to AIDS over the years. I am grieving, not merely for them but for a way of life that has vanished. I've become Holleran's hero--that guy you see in the museum, the theater, the restaurant, always by himself. I'm too young to be so solitary and too old to do anything about it. I am in a state of suspended animation, clinging to my grief, waiting for the courage and motivation to change my fortune.

How many of us did I just describe? Well, Andrew Holleran describes all of us. I read a NY Times review of GRIEF the other day, and I immediately bought a copy. This novel speaks for me, and it also makes me feel less alone--there are obviously quite a few of us out here in the dark. Holleran has given us a beautiful voice, and I thank him for it.

And now I'm going to read his other books. I want to see more of his biography of me--his biography of all of us.
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Format: Hardcover
When Dancer from the Dance was being circulated in the gallies around the 63rd St Y and at The Pines, the electricity it generated was enormous. Someone had captured us just about perfectly. That, in and of itself, was thrilling. Our lives fashioned into art -- something each generation needs and needs to leave behind. But more than that, Holleran caught the yearning for something beyond the effervescent surface of that world. The hero, Malone, walks off into the Bay, having had the three star taste of all there was to taste and still feeling hungry for something he couldn't define. I've always hoped Holleran would write THE gay utopian novel. That he would imagine what we really needed -- the kind of love, the kind of sex, the kind of acceptance and integration into the larger society from birth to death. Instead, he has held our hands as we have walked through the horrors of AIDS and growing old, still trying to imagine what this utopia would be. And yet, I am so grateful for his every word. His books are like an old friend, hovering with me near the coals that keep away the chill and the dark -- keeping me laughing, feeling, yearning, living.
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