Stonewall Cousins, Roger and Alistair, become lifelong friends when they meet as boys in 1954. After both discovering their homosexuality, their lives intersect against the backdrop of 20th Century gay culture, from the beachboy surfer days of the 1960's, to the Greenwich Village AIDS activism in the 1990's.
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Like People in History covers the 1950s, the 1960s, the 1970s, the 1980s and the very beginning of the 1990s, probably the most significant and crucial years in the history of gay movement.
This book is often termed as a gay male epic. I have to admit, that this + the title was also(unfortunately) the main reason, why I waited so long with reading it: I was afraid that this book would be too documentary and therefore maybe flat and free of emotions, written in a non-fictional style - I’m not a big fan of non-fictional books.
How I was wrong!..
At this point I have to express my sincere gratitude to Ethan Sawyer, an audio book narrator. Because hadn’t I listened to a sample on Audible, Like People in History would have been still waited to be discovered by me. But I did! And I was immediately drew into the story, literally, from the first syllable. Of course, the voice and narrating is nothing without a proper content, but I just want to emphasize what an excellent job Ethan Sawyer did.
The story opens in New York in 1991, in our days, what of course is relative. This book- I couldn’t believe it, but it is true-was published in 1996! Roger Sansarc, a first person narrator, a well know editor, writer, university professor and gay rights activist, together with his young lover Wally gets ready for a 45th -birthday party of his cousin Alistair Dodge, who is suffering from AIDS. Soon we’ll find out that a birthday present for Alistair that Roger PROMISED to give him is the sixty pills with which Alistair fully intends to end his life tonight, when the last guest is gone.
This event brings all memories back, in the 1954, the year when Alistair and Roger met the first time, and the readers will be taken on a fascinating journey through decades, from their childhood in the early 50s, through the Vietnam War's period, the Stonewall era, the AIDS epidemic, through Woodstock, LA, Chelsea, San Francisco, Fire Island, and Manhattan.
Like People in History is a portrait of gay America during 4 decades, but it doesn’t force you into historical facts, it shows you this period of time from the perspective of our narrator Roger, this book is in the first place the story of two cousins, Roger and Alistair. Their relationship is complicated and their encounters are always fateful. For both.
This book is an interesting documentary tracking of a gay American history, but it is not about history, the history here is just a background of Roger’s and Alistair’s lives. Like People in History is in the first place an excellent written and deeply touching tale about friendship, relationships, bonds, betrayals, commitments, obligations, sex and LOVE. Love that we can probably experience only once in our life. If at all.
Despite of dramatic events, this book is not depressing, it made me laugh and cry and laugh and cry again. The writing style is wonderfully flowing. The author has found a very entertaining way to interwove the past events with the present days.
Felice Picano wrote an outstanding novel in amazingly intense, emotional and incredibly beautiful way. I could not put it down. I.LOVE EVERYTHING.
I listened to an audio book, then I read what I had listened to and vice versa. I can’t remember when I did something like this before. I became addictive with Roger's story.
IF you enjoy and appreciate gay fiction, please, read it.