France’s Down Decade

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HateHate: A Romance: A Novel
by Tristan Garcia
Translated from the French by Marion Duvert and Lorin Stein
Faber & Faber.  288 pages, $14.

 

TRISTAN GARCIA’S FIRST NOVEL, Hate: A Romance, has been marketed as a roman à clef about gay Paris in the 1980’s. Originally published in French in 2008 as La Meilleure Part des Hommes (“The Best Part of Men”), Hate tells the story of four French intellectuals who alternate tumultuously between being friends, lovers, and enemies as their lives are affected by the onset of AIDS, the “end of history,” and the assimilation of homosexuality. Hate is really a post-AIDS novel, however, not only because it begins in 1989, but also because its treatment of the plague as just one of several intellectual currents coursing through the narrative rises above the parochial approach that most other writers of AIDS fiction have taken.

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