Parrish Lantern's Reviews > Hate: A Romance

Hate by Tristan Garcia
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The first four chapters of this book introduce us to the main protagonists, who are Willie, Doumé, Leibo and Liz

The story is told by Liz – Elizabeth Levallois - a thirty three year old cultural journalist, who is a friend of Willie, Doume’s colleague and Leibo’s mistress. It is through her that we learn how these three characters paths cross.

We are first introduced to William Miller (Willie), born in Amiens, at nineteen he moved to Paris where, at the start of the book, he is living on the streets & in the squats of the Gare Du Nord region with the idea of being an artist, although his idea of artist is mixed up with the idea of being an outlaw.

“He’d call himself an artist, meaning an outlaw. He’d say he was writing some piece, he’d say he had works in progress, shit going on. A kind of installation, like the performance artists he came across in squats. My guess is he wanted to shout words while some rockers did their thing. But there were no rockers anymore. He was living out a mythology he never quite got the hang of. He wanted tattoos, a band, a look like those pictures of James Dean or Tupac..”

This is how Liz first meets Willie, as she is there to profile him. The time is the 1980’s and she’s at the start of her career, working for an underground arts magazine. Through her Willie meets Doumé (Dominique Rossi), who Liz describes as “handsome in a mature way, responsible and lightly chiselled by time. The trouble was, when he was twenty it didn’t suit him. He had to wait to look his age.” Originally from Corsica he was a journalist and a founding member of a gay activist group called Stand Up, he was also one of the generation of homosexuals to experience sexual relations free of the worry of HIV/AIDS. Willie and Doumé become lovers and Liz starts an affair with Jean-Michel Leibowitz (Leibo), her old professor and a friend of Doumé.

Both Willie and Doume contract H.I.V and this destroys any love that existed between them.The story of Hate: A Romance, is an old tale of love turned bad, or in this case vicious, through the guise of politics, with the now ex-lovers taking different corners in the political fighting that arose around the problems with the rise of AIDS. Doumé advocates safe sex, protection, whilst Willie celebrates the virus as though it were a badge of honour stating that “AIDS belonged to us queers, it was our treasure,” and that those like Doumé were sucking up to the establishment, joining the forces of repression because “AIDS Saves, Condoms Kill.”

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