Friday, August 17, 2007
While Grief is a powerful novel on a serious theme, grief, and how difficult it is to get over it, it is important to note that there is more than a touch of humor in the novel that coexists with the darkness, much of it referring to aspects of gay life. The landlord observes that gay men are "fickle," changing "their decor more often than their gym." He remarks that it's not easy being an "aging actress." At parties, he notes, "everyone was wearing the same sweater and the same shoes, and all of them looking for someone who did not exist." Death, and, in particular, the deaths of so many lost to AIDS is, of course, serious business. When the narrator reflects on a friend who died of AIDS, whose mother he visits, there is, however, some humor in the fact that his friend had sought to maintain control during his life, protecting himself from the sun and even using a mind control method for discipline; who should, seemingly, have been less likely to meet such a death? The narrator takes the experiences of Mary Todd Lincoln in her grief very seriously. But when he discusses her tears after a cup of tea is accidentally spilled on her the landlord remarks that it would make a great scene in a movie. The narrator's obsession with Mary Todd Lincoln indicates how seriously he takes his own grief over his mother; but, without providing a spoiler, the ending of the book, as startling as it is, could almost be the punchline of a joke.
Posted by Stuart at Friday, August 17, 2007