Love Undetectable: Reflections on Friendship, Sex and Survival

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9780099275329: Love Undetectable: Reflections on Friendship, Sex and Survival

The plague has ended, though the disease continues. Andrew Sullivan traces a social history in public relations to AIDS and the position of homosexuals in society, an agonizing account of the death of a friend, and then makes an argument for re-evaluating the status and significance of friendship.

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Review:

With his first book Virtually Normal, Andrew Sullivan gained instant, easy notoriety--here at last was a gay Republican who forced wincing Republicans to listen to gay politics, and who forced smouldering queer activists to endure his conservative philosophising. Now he's back with a collection of three essays, Love Undetectable, but his tactics are different. While still "soapboxing" on occasion, Sullivan's writing here is painfully honest, dealing with his HIV-positive status, his Catholicism, his personal relationships and even some strange spiritual manifestations, with all the alacrity of an Oprah guest.

Sullivan's strength is his ability to ask the right questions--about the impact of the drug cocktails which have made AIDS a long-term living condition for many, about the roots of homosexuality and about the role of friendship rather than love. Some of his arguments are stimulating, but the book drifts uncertainly into a naive discovery of Freud as the great explainer of homosexuality, often replacing sustained argument with commonsensical posturing ("Find me a honest homosexual who hasn't...") Ultimately, however, whatever its limitations (most notably its tendency to read US white gay men as the gamut of queer possibility), Love Undetectable at least forces debate in what has become one of the most complacent of communities. --Alan Stewart

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