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Chronicle of a Plague, Revisited: AIDS and Its Aftermath

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  222 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Andrew Holleran’s Ground Zero, first published in 1988 and consisting of 23 Christopher Street essays from the earliest years of the AIDS crisis, was hailed by the Washington Post as “one of the best dispatches from the epidemic’s height.” Twenty years later, with HIV/AIDS long recognized as a global health challenge, Holleran both reiterates and freshly illuminates the de ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published May 13th 2008 by Da Capo Press (first published 2008)
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Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a really interesting historical collection of essays. Things I learned:
- hiv/aids had a huge latency, the average survival time after infection was 11 years. Some people acted extremely safe and stopped having sex for 4 years and still got sick; if being sick happened within 48 hours of infection, the epidemic would have played out very differently
- basically any gay person who had sex once in the last 7 years were at risk during times when there wasn't a test (or if there was a test fo
Kate M. Colby
Apr 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is a necessity for anyone looking to understand how AIDS impacted gay culture, especially in urban centers like New York, or to appreciate an almost-forgotten way of life.

It is a gripping and heart-wrenching account of AIDS and its impact on gay culture throughout the 1980s and 1990s. While each chapter can be read as a stand-alone piece, Holleran weaves them together beautifully to create a comprehensive look at the effects of AIDS. Unfortunately, the stand-alone pieces do lend thems
Jan 10, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a collection of stories with most of them revolving within the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 90s. Loss and despair prevail as themes. But so does survival, compassion and unimaginable strength....
The collection, (beautifully written,) serves as a good reminder to all that gay people endured during what has at-times been described as as "our holocaust."

No understanding of the gay experience is complete without some serious reading of all the amazing literature AIDS brought forth.
kim McRad
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who does hiv prevention
Shelves: nonfictiontypes
as someone who was a wee child during the early days of aids, this book served as an excellent reminder of how far we've come in dealing with hiv. unfortunately i also found it amazing that i still see many of these same attitudes towards hiv, the same attitudes that were so prevalent in the gay male community in the early days can now be found in so many populations that are now becoming disproportionately affected by hiv/aids...the denial, the assumptions about partners, and the prejudices aga ...more
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: absolute-love
I absolutely loved this book from the moment I opened to page one. Andrew Holleran provided a detailed view of gay life New York in the 1980's, and the beginning of the AIDS crisis. Being gay in the 2000's, I was so moved at reading what my community has been through, and the scares and horrors we faced in the time of my parents, a mere decade before my own birth. "Chronicle Of A Plague, Revisited" truly is a remarkable book, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to read exactly what is li ...more
Jul 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Reluctantly read this for all the reasons the author states on the difficulty of writing about AIDS. Appreciated it for its depiction of an essential part of the history of New York City. His friends and their experiences seem strangely familiar yet ultimately unfamiliar to me as I first moved to the city just as the author began to leave it. He mentions Proust several times in the essays and I think his own writing in many ways resembles Proust's. ...more
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you're looking to grasp more at your history, to truly understand queer life in the 80s, this book is one you should pick up. ...more
Feb 15, 2020 rated it liked it
holleran posits this collection as a failure. he's right: the writing here is circular, broken and redundant. never has his imagery been as colorless or his emotionality as broad. it repeats itself endlessly, it flails and thrashes trying to make sense of something that cannot be made sensical. in the introduction alone, CHRONICLES OF A PLAGUE says everything it has to say.

but what the book does successfully is render the cosmic pain of experiencing aids happen, as it happened. that these essays
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
The first few chapters were really intriguing and I thought I was getting into something really interesting, but they slowly began to sound.... almost exactly the same. There’s only so much to say about the well-off gay male experience and while it is obviously very important when discussing the era of AIDS, it feels like a very exclusive collection that does not adequately address POC or trans individuals who were at the crux of this epidemic. Anyway, I don’t recommend more than the first few c ...more
Feb 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was really interested to read more about the aids crisis from the perspective of someone who’d been there. I am glad I did.
Oct 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jennifer Collins
Holleran's essays are a clear look back to the first decade of the HIV/AIDS crisis, centered on New York City and permeated equally by fear and by grief for those lost. In many cases, the essays chronicle the confusion and the sense of helplessness felt in the earliest years when there was virtually no treatment available, and even the hope for a cure that few imagined would still be out of reach decades later. Holleran's mix of the political with the social, and of the personal with the societa ...more
Dec 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Review coming.
Neil Orts
Aug 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
See my review in the August 2008 issue of OutSmart.

(Holleran is a fine writer. It's a good book.)
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Born in 1943. Andrew Holleran is the pseudonym of Eric Garber, a novelist, essayist, and short story writer. He is a prominent novelist of post-Stonewall gay literature. He was a member of The Violet Quill, a gay writer's group that met briefly from 1980-81. ...more

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