Faber & Faber, £8.99
Hate: A Romance, By Tristan Garcia
Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.
Saturday 16 June 2012
Fearless, incendiary, this French first novel returns to the darkest days of Aids. Its bite and bravado (in Marion Duvert and Lorin Stein's translation) will thrill readers who worry that Michel Houellebecq may have gone soft.
Garcia's narrator traces the fatal passage of the virus through a group of Parisian friends; and through their beliefs.
In a fashion that recalls Sartre or De Beauvoir, these intellectuals with clear minds and murky desires become mouthpieces for theories about sex and love, commitment and community.
But the ideas sparkle, while the toll of loss accquires a tragic weight.
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