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Such Times

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  112 ratings  ·  14 reviews
In this glitteringly stylish, haunting novel, Christopher Coe evokes both the charmed era of the 1970s and early 80s--when it seems possible for men to love each other without demands and with Dionysian abandon--and the years of loss that followed. Through the story of Timothy and Jasper's twenty-year relationship, Coe creates an inexpressibly moving portrait of people ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published December 1st 1994 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1993)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  112 ratings  ·  14 reviews

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Eric Rickert
Sep 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book is a five-star heavyweight because of its sprawling scope, and because of its cultural/social importance and total absence in the contemporary canon of literature.

Please understand: I'm never this guy.


I hate that guy, the one who talks about unknown books in public spaces like they're crime & punishment or the bible ("he was a contemporary of the marquis de sade, and sade read his work OBSESSIVELY, but no one knows him because he, like, had the most normal vanilla life
Dec 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are passages in this book that I just savor. The vision of the HIV epidemic shows what life was like in the gay community early in the 1990s, before protease inhibitors. Christopher was a brilliant chronicler of life and love, and we lost him way too soon!
John Treat
Dec 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Coe's I LOOK DIVINE was a masterpiece; SUCH TIMES may be as well. The colophon says it is a work of fiction,and so any character's resemblance to a real personage is coincidental, but I refuse to believe that narrator Tim's Jasper is invented. He is too important to be made-up.

People will tell you this is "about" an epidemic, but that is misleading. I have no doubt Coe's own dying informs every page, but it's an 18-year old romance, across the divide of a generation, that he wants you to know
Sarah Fuller
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a rough book to read, mainly because you know these men have AIDS and these are their last years and they know it. They shouldn’t be dying. Among a list of risk, sex shouldn’t be one, but it was and is still for so many people. And it makes me sad that so many men killed themselves instead of living. I makes me sad that so many men died of AIDS, but the surviving people chose to label it something else. As if Cancer is more noble a death than AIDS. It’s death and it’s horrible.

Ian  Cann
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had much ummming, ahhing and yelling at this book to decide over how to rate this book. On the one hand the prose is exquisitely written with almost Waugh/Hollinghurst levels of brilliance. On the other hand the main three or four characters are to a man an absolute shower of insufferable pricks and on the other hand, hey three hands! But there we are then.

Really, Timothy, Jasper, Dominic and Oliver Ingraham (especially Oliver Ingraham) deserve each other thoroughly and I'd be happy to leave
Harry F.
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly one of the unsung masterpieces of gay literature. Coe paints a harrowing yet intimate and stunningly touching tale of loss and love amid hidden tragedy of the Aids epidemic. I'll always be touched by this book and its poignant scenes. It's like a gay Catcher in the Rye.
Timothy Juhl
Nov 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For several years now, I've kept a framed passage from 'Such Times' that I have read a hundred times and glance at almost every day. It begins, 'There will always be one final everything--the last word, of course, the last breath; there will be one last check you write, one last nap, one last artichoke', and it ends, 'You will lick one last stamp. You won't know it when you do.'

Even writing this now, I realize the odd significance that even these words I'm writing might hold. Or might not.

One of the best novels I've read in a very long time, and one which I will certainly revisit. It has a depth and complexity that is enormously satisfying and a structure that is a thing of beauty. It is not easy, but it rewards the effort with much to think about.

As any novel set among gay men in the New York of the last quarter of the 20th Century, Aids is prominent, but I think it's a mistake to lump this in with other Aids novels. HIV is as omnipresent as it was in our lives at the time, but
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
So, I have to say that I'm abandoning this book a little more than halfway through. Honestly, I spent the last 50 pages not enjoying, but trying to figure out if this author is really this bad, or if he's a genius at creating an utterly vapid, shallow idiot who is telling the story first person. Flashbacks within flashbacks may be very realistic, but they don't make for very good reading. And, also, if the character was that worldly, and had as much sex as you say he did, he wouldn't call a ...more
Aug 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful and accomplished story of loss and acceptance, and not only in relation to AIDS. Timothy never had as much of Jasper as he wanted, because somebody else had a prior claim - and contrary to what the blurb may suggest, it wasn't Timothy's friend Dominic. But Timothy had as much as Jasper could give, and this is the story of the life he made with that.
T.B. Caine
Book Trigger Warnings: suicide, fatphobia, racism (it only happens once that I saw, but there might be more), miscarriages

oof wow this book was absolutely crushing.

'That's so corny,' I snapped.
'Sometimes things are,' Abigail said
(page, 277)

This book bounces around a timeline (and I'm still not sure if it helps or hurts the story) from the years Jasper and Tim spent together all the way towards the end when Tim is taking care of Dominic as he is now dying too. There are moments where the
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In his New York Times obituary from 1994, Coe's worth is summed up in three lines: "Wrote Gay Novels". In "Such Times", Coe displays talent which extend beyond chronicling gay life and sex in the late twentieth century (which he does with aplomb). The novel follows Timothy, mourning the death of his lover Jasper to AIDS. This novel is about the loss of a lover, the way grief unmakes us, the negotiation of relationships, the make up of the virus, the joys of unexpected human contact, the threat ...more
I gave this a 1 star due to the fact I wasn't moved in any way by this book which I found very disappointing. I didn't enjoy the style of how this was written at all. Not one of the characters in this book was compelling nor did I connect on any level with any of them what so ever.

But I will give this book 4 stars due to the history it provides on the pandemic which any LGBTQ person should read to get a perspective of how the pandemic affected everyone in our community. It may hit a cord or have
Sarah Rigg
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I took a Gay & Lesbian Lit class my senior year of college and it inspired me to read a bunch more that wasn't on the syllabus, including this one.
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Christopher Coe was born in Pennsylvania in 1953 and raised in Portland, Oregon. As an adult he lived in both New York City and Paris.

As well as a writer, Coe also worked as a photographer and cabaret singer. His first novel, I Look Divine, was published in 1987, his second, Such Times, in 1993.

Coe died of AIDS on 6 September 1994 at his home in Manhattan.
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“There will always be one final everything; the last word, of course, the last breath; there will be one last check you write, one last nap, one last artichoke.

There will be a last time you chop scallions, a last movie you will see, a last time you fly to Rome. It doesn't matter how many coins you leave in the fountain.

You will make one last photograph, and be photographed one final time by somebody else; there will be one last time you will walk on a particular street, one last time you will go out from your house or come back into it.

You will have one last dream, one last orgasm, one last cigarette. There will be one final time you will see or be seen by the man or the woman you have loved, or the people you have known, unless of course, you outlive them all, which is not likely.

You will lick one last stamp. You won't know it when you do.”
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