Clever, deadpan and emotionally aware, this debut novel is told from the perspective of Ava, a nihilistic young Dubliner forging a new life in Hong Kong. Aware of the bad choices she makes, she watches herself do so with a sardonic eye and witty self reflection. Dolan writes astutely on the intricacies of power dynamics, social media interactions, gendered behaviours and class indicators, and delves deeper to portray the human struggle of either shoring oneself up for self protection, or risking being open to love. We watch Ava’s two relationships unfold- one practical and familiar in its dysfunction and one that terrifies her with its strength of feeling. Dolan excels at intimate narrative devices such as contrasting Ava’s outwardly closed off demeanour with the vulnerable text messages that she doesn’t dare to send, making us compelled to read on, willing Ava to choose love.
A witty, compelling and gritty portrait of the AIDs crisis in New York City told through the lens of a love triangle between a lesbian AIDs activist, a bisexual artist and her heterosexual male partner. Through their interactions Sarah Schulman cleverly explores the gap between the middle class art world's liberal complacent mindset and the urgency of AIDs activism as people are literally living and dying on the streets. The inclusion of a Trump-like real estate mogul who refuses to rent out apartments to gay or black men and an intricate direct action plot is informed by Schulman's own involvement in grassroots AIDS activism, giving this book the weight of lived experience. In a real life twist, it is not widely known that Jonathan Larson, the producer of the hit musical Rent, used the exact plot from Schulman's novel but gave her no credit.
Published by Vintage on 17th September 2019
These bite size essays from the author of Testo Junkie offer urgent and transgressive routes beyond the grim horizons of our current social and political landscape. For anyone seeking to uncover what it is to live and write radically, this is essential reading.