Sebastian Kirsch: Blog

Sunday, 16 April 2006

Armistead Maupin: The Night Listener

Filed under: — Sebastian Kirsch @ 23:25

[cover]No, it is not that I have not read anything in the last four months. I just could not find the time to write anything about it. So, in order to clear my backlog, I will start with the easiest book – which is also one of the most recent ones I have read.

The Night Listener is Maupin’s most mature book yet, and also the most auto-biographical one. From noticing that “his lover Terry Anderson” is omitted from the blurb in this book and reading about the elderly writer who breaks up with his much younger, HIV positive lover, it is just a small step to realizing that the main characters are actually Maupin and his lover, and that they indeed broke up recently. (As confirmed, for example, by this interview.) But we never find out how much is fiction and how much is autobiography in this book.

The Night Listener as a whole is lacking conclusions. But perhaps the message is that we do not always need proof beyond all reasonable doubt – sometimes it is better to trust one’s instincts and one’s knowledge of human nature, instead of trying to cover all possible angles. This was a very worthwhile message for me, and Maupin conveys it with a light hand.

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