The Pure Lover: A Memoir of Grief
by David Plante
Beacon Press. 114 pages, $23.
AUTHOR DAVID PLANTE has made a career out of writing critically praised novels that center on family dramas and sexually ambiguous main characters. His latest book, an innovative and incantatory memoir about the family that he formed with his partner of forty years, the poet and publisher Nikos Stangos, couldn’t be any less ambiguous in its portrayal of the couple’s life together, and in its bracingly poignant meditations on Stangos’ death from brain cancer in 2004. In an era when the debate over same-sex marriage seems to be at the very heart of our public discourse, this book offers a cumulative portrait, taken in snapshots, of a long-term gay relationship that’s as valid a marriage as any other.