About Ed (Paperback)

About Ed By Robert Gluck Cover Image
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Description


A moving story about love, AIDS, grief, and memory by one of the most adventurous writers to come out of San Francisco's LGBTQ+ scene.

Bob Glück met Ed Aulerich-Sugai in 1970. Ed was an aspiring artist; Bob wanted to write. They were young men in San Francisco at the high tide of sexual liberation and soon, and for eight years, they were lovers, after which they were friends. Ed was an explorer in the realms of sex. He was beautiful, fragile, exasperating, serious, unassuaged. In 1994 he died of HIV. His dream notebooks became a touchstone for this book, which Glück has been working on for some two decades, while also making  his name as a proponent of New Narrative writing and as one of America’s most unusual, venturesome, and lyrical authors. About Ed is about Ed, who remains, as our dead do, both familiar and unknowable, faraway and close. It is about Bob too.

The book is a hybrid, at once fiction and fact, like memory, and it takes in many things through tales of political activism and domestic comedy and fury to questions of art and love and experiences of  longing and horror. The book also shifts in register, from the delicate  to the analytic, to funny and explicit and heartbroken. It begins in the  San Francisco of the early 1980s, when Ed and Bob have been broken up for a while. aIds is spreading, but Ed has yet to receive his diagnosis.  It follows him backward through his life with Bob in the 1970s and forward through the harrowing particulars of death. It holds on to him and explores his art. It ends in his dreams.

About the Author


Robert Glück is a poet, fiction writer, critic, and editor. With Bruce Boone, he founded the New Narrative movement in San Francisco. His poetry collections include Reader and, with Boone, La Fontaine. His fiction includes the story collection Denny Smith, and the novel Jack the Modernist. Glück edited, with Camille Roy, Mary Berger, and Gail Scott, the anthology Biting The Error: Writers Explore Narrative, and his collected essays, Communal Nude, appeared in 2016. Glück served as the director of San Francisco State’s Poetry Center, co-director of the Small Press Traffic Literary Center, and associate editor at Lapis Press. NYRB Classics reissued his novel Margery Kempe in 2020. He lives in San Francisco.

Praise For…


“I’ve probably never anticipated a book so eagerly. About Ed is love the way it happens: awkward, lyrical with antagonism, stuff & flourish. Love has duration and is irreplaceable. And this is such a book.” —Eileen Myles

“[About Ed] joins a body of work whose shrewdness and dynamic formalism renders its content both startlingly immediate and sublimely abstract...Glück’s contribution to the AIDS-memoir genre plays with the deindividuation of grief, in his drag as Ed, in the reader’s as Bob. Glück tosses a ball to the reader—no, not a ball, a bone.” —Kay Gabriel, Book Forum

“How to convey the power of this book? The achievement of its language is such that it resists easy translation into criticism as practiced in any conventional mode... Glück uses elements of Ed’s own
journals and dream notebooks so that the work becomes a collaborative act, a collaboration that is extended to the reader who is asked to take on the burden and responsibility of memory. Glück characterizes About Ed as a tomb built in language: a tomb for Ed and, ultimately, for himself.” —John Douglas Millar, E-Flux

“Ultimately, About Ed looks not so much toward the future as it does toward a suspended past. If this is a book about a lost loved one, it is also a memorial to a lost sensibility, a period in the 1970s when sex was “founded on hope,” before the onslaught of the AIDS crisis.” —Mattilda Berstein Sycamore, The New York Times

“Both kaleidoscopic and bracingly tender, [About Ed] locates us in familiar New Narrative territory, with gossipy references to intimates whose names you are assumed to know (or quickly learn), playful pastiche and the campy aestheticization of ‘low’ culture....The writing is non-linear and echoic as it nonetheless fiercely inhabits the present.” —Sam Buchan-Watts, Frieze

“The masterly latest from Glück, whose novel Margery Kempe was reissued by NYRB Classics in 2020, examines sex, death, and literature through the story of his friend’s death from AIDS.... Based on 20 years of notes, including recorded conversations with Aulerich-Sugai and excerpts from his dream journals, Glück’s novel is as philosophical and theory-leaning as one would expect from a writer of the New Narrative movement, while still offering carnivalesque carnality, piercing humor, keen social observation, and a humane, earthy sensibility. This is a revelation."  —Publishers Weekly Starred Review  

"What Glück means by New Narrative seems to be, essentially,  writing that narrates its narrating at the same time as it narrates something else. It is writing that questions itself and sometimes gives misleading answers, that conveys meaning and undermines  it at the same time, eventually aiming at “total continuity and total disjunction”. . . . I like Glück’s writing for its sensuality, its generosity, and its enthusiasm." —Barry Schwabsky, Hyperallergic
Product Details
ISBN: 9781681377766
ISBN-10: 1681377764
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication Date: November 14th, 2023
Pages: 280
Language: English