Cover image for Later : my life at the edge of the world
Title:
Later : my life at the edge of the world
ISBN:
9781644450161
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227 pages ; 21 cm
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Summary:
A stunning portrait of community, identity, and sexuality by the critically acclaimed author of The Narrow Door When Paul Lisicky arrived in Provincetown in the early 1990s, he was leaving behind a history of family trauma to live in a place outside of time, known for its values of inclusion, acceptance, and art. In this idyllic haven, Lisicky searches for love and connection and comes into his own as he finds a sense of belonging. At the same time, the center of this community is consumed by the AIDS crisis, and the very structure of town life is being rewired out of necessity: What might this utopia look like during a time of dystopia? Later dramatizes a spectacular yet ravaged place and a unique era when more fully becoming one's self collided with the realization that ongoingness couldn't be taken for granted, and staying alive from moment to moment exacted absolute attention. Following the success of his acclaimed memoir, The Narrow Door, Lisicky fearlessly explores the body, queerness, love, illness, community, and belonging in this masterful, ingenious new book.
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Summary

Summary

A stunning portrait of community, identity, and sexuality by the critically acclaimed author of The Narrow Door

When Paul Lisicky arrived in Provincetown in the early 1990s, he was leaving behind a history of family trauma to live in a place outside of time, known for its values of inclusion, acceptance, and art. In this idyllic haven, Lisicky searches for love and connection and comes into his own as he finds a sense of belonging. At the same time, the center of this community is consumed by the AIDS crisis, and the very structure of town life is being rewired out of necessity: What might this utopialook like during a time of dystopia?

Later dramatizes a spectacular yet ravaged place and a unique era when more fully becoming one's self collided with the realization that ongoingness couldn't be taken for granted, and staying alive from moment to moment exacted absolute attention. Following the success of his acclaimed memoir, The Narrow Door , Lisicky fearlessly explores the body, queerness, love, illness, community, and belonging in this masterful, ingenious new book.


Author Notes

Paul Lisicky is the author of five books, including Famous Builder and Lawnboy . He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the NEA, among other organizations. He teaches in the MFA program at Rutgers University and lives in Brooklyn.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

A writer recalls his search for love and community in Provincetown, Mass., during the AIDS epidemic in this melodramatic memoir. Fiction writer and memoirist Lisicky (The Narrow Door) spent several years in the early 1990s in Provincetown, a Cape Cod resort, artist's colony, and gay mecca, doing a writing fellowship and trying to sort out his late-20s life. He found the town an exhilarating haven, where he could finally live his homosexuality loud and proud--"Hey, do you want to get high and have sex?" inquired one random guy on the street shortly after he arrived--but also a death-haunted place where recently healthy acquaintances faded from AIDS before his eyes. Lisicky finds affecting moments of pathos in the declining health and deaths of friends ("The churches in Town turn their backs on the sick in Town, but that is not why I turned my back on God"). Unfortunately, much of the book's endlessly complex and neurotic rumination is lavished on trivial matters: casual hookups in the dunes; longer-term relationships, riddled with small insecurities and betrayals, that feel paper-thin; and simple mishaps ("It feels like the toppling is connected to some secret instinct in myself that is driven to ruin," he frets when a fake oversized ice-cream cone he is wearing in a parade falls off his head). The result is a callow and uninvolving coming-of-age narrative. (Mar.)


Kirkus Review

Lisicky (MFA Program/Rutgers Univ.-Camden), 60, returns to his early days as a young, gay man, which he previously wrote about in The Narrow Door (2016, etc.).Throughout the author's memoir, the focus is Provincetown, Massachusetts, in the early 1990s, when the author was awarded a residency fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center and was looking forward to escaping dark and dispiriting times at home. It was October as he drove over the hill to view the small town nestled in the "curved coast of the harbor, shining." Town, as he calls it, and his small room were his new home: "There's no other place I'd rather be." At the time, writes Lisicky, he felt he had been "dead too long," and he was anxious to visit the catwalk that is Commercial Street. The first night, he picked up a tall, blond guy, and they had sex. Lisicky writes a great deal about sex in this memoir. "Sex for me is as essential as food," he explains. This was the time of the AIDS epidemic, and the author cites a series of statistics that are still shocking nearly three decades later. In 1991, 20,454 people in the U.S. died of AIDS. By the mid-1990s, notes the author, 10% of Town's gay population died. Written in short, titled sections, the memoir is brutally honest as Lisicky chronicles his search for companionship and love amid sadness, illness, and death. The next few years were a sexual roundelay as the author moved from lover to lover, with assorted affairs along the way. With each new issue of the Town's Advocate, he turned to the obituaries: "Ohthat guy!...When he looked at me last week I looked back at him, and we were both citizens of Town." Some readers may wish for more about literature and writing, but that is not the author's focus here. Lisicky does a fine job capturing the emotional ambience of a special place consumed by both joy and fear.A candid, scorching memoir that emits tenderness and sweet sorrow. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Provincetown, Massachusetts, in the 1990s was a world apart, a special place if you were a member of the LGBTQ community. Lisicky arrived as the bohemian town at the edge of Cape Cod was consumed by the AIDS crisis after he had been offered a seven-month residency. With reports of so many young men dying from AIDS and AIDS-related illnesses, his mother expresses her fear that her son will also succumb to the disease while "living among" his "own kind," as Lisicky says. And yet to Lisicky, Provincetown is the place that can give him things that his own hometown can't provide: a sense of freedom, sexual and otherwise, that he had never experienced before. But first he had to overcome some deep-seated insecurities. Maybe the foundation made a mistake, he thinks. After all, he reasons, it takes him hours to string together even the simplest of paragraphs. What if they find out that he is a fraud? Before long, though, he overcomes his nervous anxiety and finds his groove. A tale of belonging and discovery even amid the shadows of death.