Love Undetectable: Notes on Friendship, Sex, and Survival

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9780679773153: Love Undetectable: Notes on Friendship, Sex, and Survival

"Sullivan offers [a] profound, often beautiful appreciation of friendship. . . . [He can] fascinate us with the range and depth of his mind."--San Francisco Chronicle

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year  

"One of the great pleasures of this book lies in watching Sullivan's mind at work . . . [his essays] are filled with a passion and heat that most cultural criticism lacks." --Katie Roiphe, The Washington Post

When former New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan publicly revealed his HIV positive status in 1996, he intended "to be among the first generation that survives this disease." In this new book, a powerful meditation on the spiritual effect AIDS has on friendship, love, sexuality, and American culture, we follow Sullivan on his path to survival.  

A practicing Catholic, Sullivan reflects on his faith in God, and expresses his bittersweet joy upon learning about new AIDS treatments that he believes led to the virus's recent transformation from a plague into a chronic illness. He revisits Freud to seek the origins of homosexuality and reviews the works of Aristotle, St. Augustine, and W. H. Auden to define friendship for a contemporary, post-plague world. Sullivan's last essay extols the virtues of friendship, elevating platonic love over the romantic, as he memorializes his best friend, who died of AIDS.  Intensely personal and passionately political, Sullivan's essays are not just about his own experiences but also a powerful testament to human resilience, faith, hope, and love.  

"Sullivan has found meaning in chaos. . . . With its paradoxical sense of beauty amid pain, Love Undetectable has something of the quality of a war memoir."  --The New York Times Book Review  

"On display here are all of the author's many strengths--compelling, poetic prose style, some keen observations on faith. . . . Sullivan offers a moving defense of the open gay male urban sexual culture and his participation in it."  --The Boston Globe

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Review:

In November of 1996, Andrew Sullivan wrote an article in the New York Times Magazine entitled "When Plagues End" in which he claimed that then-new treatments for the HIV retrovirus had signaled the end of AIDS. The article drew much criticism from activists and health professionals; in Love Undetectable, Sullivan--who is himself living with HIV--elaborates upon his argument, embellishing and embroidering it with nuance and context to make it at once more personal and universal. His thinking about AIDS leads him to a philosophical contemplation on the "causes" of homosexuality in which he discards all of the negative psychological theories, then rejects genetics as well. In the following essay on the nature of friendship and love, Sullivan finds his voice and true topic--using "friendship" as a lens through which he can wed his autobiographical musings and speculative theories on how we, as mortal humans struggling against time and the body, can make sense of the world.

Always provocative--the chapters on the plague will still rankle those who see AIDS as an ever-present and growing danger--Love Undetectable proves that Sullivan has a voice and a heart that can reach across the borders of experience and politics. --Michael Bronski

From the Publisher:

"He wants to see same-sex love fully accepted as a dignified form of human relations...
This book can only help the cause"
-Andrew Delbanco, The New York Times Book Review

"On display here are all of the author's many strengths--a compelling, poetic prose style, some keen observations on faith, an evocative retelling of his friendship with a man felled by AIDS"
--Liz Galst, Boston Globe

"Love Undetectable proves that Sullivan has a voice and a heart that can reach across
the borders of experience and politics"
--Michael Bronski, Amazon.com

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