About Ed by Robert Gluck

About Ed by Robert Gluck

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A moving story about love, AIDS, grief, and memory by one of the most adventurous writers to come out of San Francisco's LGBTQ+ scene.

Bob Glück met Ed Aulerich-Sugai in 1970. Ed was an aspiring artist; Bob wanted to write. They were young men in San Francisco at the high tide of sexual liberation and soon, and for eight years, they were lovers, after which they were friends. Ed was an explorer in the realms of sex. He was beautiful, fragile, exasperating, serious, unassuaged. In 1994 he died of HIV. His dream notebooks became a touchstone for this book, which Glück has been working on for some two decades, while also making his name as a proponent of New Narrative writing and as one of America's most unusual, venturesome, and lyrical authors. About Ed is about Ed, who remains, as our dead do, both familiar and unknowable, faraway and close. It is about Bob too.

The book is a hybrid, at once fiction and fact, like memory, and it takes in many things through tales of political activism and domestic comedy and fury to questions of art and love and experiences of longing and horror. The book also shifts in register, from the delicate to the analytic, to funny and explicit and heartbroken. It begins in the San Francisco of the early 1980s, when Ed and Bob have been broken up for a while. AIDS is spreading, but Ed has yet to receive his diagnosis. It follows him backward through his life with Bob in the 1970s and forward through the harrowing particulars of death. It holds on to him and explores his art. It ends in his dreams.

"I've probably never anticipated a book so eagerly. About Ed is love the way it happens: awkward, lyrical with antagonism, stuff & flourish. Love has duration and is irreplaceable. And this is such a book." --Eileen Myles

"Ultimately, About Ed looks not so much toward the future as it does toward a suspended past. If this is a book about a lost loved one, it is also a memorial to a lost sensibility, a period in the 1970s when sex was "founded on hope," before the onslaught of the AIDS crisis." --Mattilda Berstein Sycamore, The New York Times

"Both kaleidoscopic and bracingly tender, [ About Ed] locates us in familiar New Narrative territory, with gossipy references to intimates whose names you are assumed to know (or quickly learn), playful pastiche and the campy aestheticization of 'low' culture.... The writing is non-linear and echoic as it nonetheless fiercely inhabits the present." --Sam Buchan-Watts, Frieze

"The masterly latest from Glück, whose novel Margery Kempe was reissued by NYRB Classics in 2020, examines sex, death, and literature through the story of his friend's death from AIDS.... Based on 20 years of notes, including recorded conversations with Aulerich-Sugai and excerpts from his dream journals, Glück's novel is as philosophical and theory-leaning as one would expect from a writer of the New Narrative movement, while still offering carnivalesque carnality, piercing humor, keen social observation, and a humane, earthy sensibility. This is a revelation." -- Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"What Glück means by New Narrative seems to be, essentially, writing that narrates its narrating at the same time as it narrates something else. It is writing that questions itself and sometimes gives misleading answers, that conveys meaning and undermines it at the same time, eventually aiming at "total continuity and total disjunction". . . . I like Glück's writing for its sensuality, its generosity, and its enthusiasm." --Barry Schwabsky, Hyperallergic

Paperback / 256 pages