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Later: My Life at the Edge of the World

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  298 ratings  ·  49 reviews
A stunning portrait of community, identity, and sexuality by the critically acclaimed author of The Narrow Door

When Paul Lisicky arrived in Provincetown in the early 1990s, he was leaving behind a history of family trauma to live in a place outside of time, known for its values of inclusion, acceptance, and art. In this idyllic haven, Lisicky searches for love and connecti
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 17th 2020 by Graywolf Press
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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Jul 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, recs
so very mesmerizing and devastating. in swift prose Lisicky recollects the time he and his literary friends spent in Provincetown in the early ‘90s, across a series of diaristic fragments recording his daily activities, the best of which border on prose poetry. he takes on a lot here—his alienation from his family + his longing for queer community in the midst of an epidemic, the rise and fall of his relationship with a dancer, the character of Provincetown’s social life, the trauma of watching ...more
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt
Every word of Paul Lisicky's "Later" will draw you in, begging you to picture it, to reflect on it, and to read it again and again.

Lisicky arrived in Provincetown, MA in 1991 during the heart of the AIDS crisis. A town on the cape, known for its queer community, was being ravaged by a disease - and a politics - that was killing the community of people calling it home. Entering into a tumultuous center, Lisicky finds his voice as a writer, falls in love, and considers the fears of being infected
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
My review for the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

A place of great remoteness and refuge, Provincetown — a coastal village at the tip of Cape Cod, Mass. — captivates the eyes and minds of its visitors and residents. In his memoir, “Later: My Life at the Edge of the World,” Paul Lisicky attests to its fascination by opening with not one but six epigraphs about the location from Henry David Thoreau, Mary Heaton Vorse, Denis Johnson, Eileen Myles, Andrea Lawlor and
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: high-caliber
Nominally this is a book about Provincetown in the early 90s, but I took it as a kind of rebirth amidst death and the potential for death amongst the gay community at that time. In its short segments, you slowly become enveloped in memories that add up to an artist’s self-actualization. It is also quite funny at parts too — this is not a Proustian narcotized reverie. At times it almost becomes prose poetry, and I didn’t always have the grounding I wanted from the narrative, but I felt quite move ...more
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfic, memoir
*Later*, Paul Lisicky’s latest memoir about [Province]Town in the early 1990s, reads like a photo album set to language. Each chapter is broken into fragmented reminiscences, each slowly brought into relief, paragraph by paragraph, like a polaroid in the dark.

Lisicky’s companionable and poetic voice was one I easily identified with, a mix of the observer with the longing for connection to a world, particularly other queer men, around him. His hunger for intimacy gave the book its pulse and rhyth
Kevin Catalano
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, heart-aching memoir. Every sentence, every word, is magic.
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
With Later, Paul Lisicky offers an insightful and incisive account of his time in Provincetown in the early 1990s: first arriving as a young writer on a fellowship with the Fine Arts Work Center seeking the time and space to write while also searching for a sense of belonging, and love, as a gay man. Later pivots seamlessly between elegiac and nostalgic remembrance, at once an ode for a precise time and place as well as a clear-eyed archival of the idiosyncrasies and contradictions that constitu ...more
This lyrical meditation felt timely, considering it's a book about finding refuge in a plague, and was released (and read) while the world goes through one. Obviously the public, medical, and government response was completely underwhelming if not outright malicious for the AIDs crisis in comparison to our situation now. Later ...more
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, hiv-aids
In his memoir, "Later: My Life At the Edge of the World," Paul Lisicky brings us to Provincetown, which he refers to as the Town, in the 90s. A gay man leaving home, again, to start a seven month Fellowship at the prestigious Fine Arts Work Center Stanley Kunitz founded. He is approved for a second Fellowship and the Town becomes his home base. The style of the book is in prosaic sections that are titled and quilted together to form a tapestry.

He captures his mother's isolated world and her emot
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
cracked my heart all the way open
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“In my mind every death will always be an AIDS death; everyone will always die before their time, whether they’re twenty-one or ninety-one. Nobody will ever get enough affection; everyone will be abandoned emotionally by the people they’d counted on, who get hardened by procedures, the insurance industry, the medical establishment, the funeral industry at the end. And for all that’s against their terrible journey, the dead burn brighter to me than they do when they’re alive.”
Gordon Prescott
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
After reading the sentences about anger and Paul’s relationship with his father, I knew I was in the hands of a master. “He wanted his skin to rub off into us so we would not forget the cost of everything he did to give us the life we had. The martyring. And if that isn’t anger in the purest, most frozen form, then I can’t read the world.”

This memoir revolving around Provincetown in the early nineties is full of choice writing. With our current Corona Virus, it’s hauntingly refreshing to remembe
John Sinclair
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Bracingly honest, gorgeous, tragic, and at times funny: a man finding his inner self, living in a place he loves in a time of love, life and death. I finished it breathless. 5 stars. #books #books2020 #bookstagram #reading #readersofnstagram
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the majority of the book.
Anytime that Lisicky discusses the lives of gay men and gay culture? I'm on board (hence the whole "I enjoyed the majority of the book" statement)
However, Lisicky fell into a trap that I don't like, which is when a writer talks about the self-righteous importance of writing.
Ray Shea
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Reading a book about surviving a plague in one of my favorite places while being locked down during a plague in one of my other favorite places. This book is really fucking beautiful.
I am not going to rate this book just because I didn't connect with it. It's a beautifully written book of memory, but I felt as if I were kept at arm's length -- as is the author was coldly observing himself. My feelings may have more to do with me than the book. ...more
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A powerful memoir that reads like a series of prose poems stitched together into a gorgeous quilt. Lisicky's book does an incredible job of evoking a complex and harrowing era of life in Provincetown in the early 1990s. The book's rave reviews are all well deserved. Poets and Writers sums it up very well in the following description: "At once intimate and expansive, Later is a vital exploration of queer life past, present, and future."

The writing is gorgeous throughout. Here is just one of many
Jul 28, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a birthday gift, so I really wanted to like it. I made myself finish the book, hoping somehow that I'd like it in the end. Some of the writing is powerful, and I appreciate it as a historical document, but that's all. Guess you can't connect with everyone, and I'm just not connecting with this author.
Anna (Bailed to go to Storygraph! Username: acweber)
This is one of the best memoirs I've ever read ...more
Matthew Lawrence
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Read this in March, not sure why I never logged it but I guess it was March and I was little distracted by the plague...
Jun 16, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020
Why don't I get these books? There There, The Disappearing Earth, Overstory, Later - the constant switching makes it hard to follow. At least with TT and TDE I could connect to the characters.

I lived the story of Later with my friends and loved ones in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. I wanted to love this book - Paula is me. But I just kept getting caught up and moving away. Bummed and dissapointed.
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Stunning book! So many sentences were highlighted. Poets are truly the best writer.s. Highly recommend.
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
A beautifully written, literary memoir about Lisicky's early years in Provincetown from 1991-1994. I was immediately captivated by the opening scene, in which he is saying goodbye to his mother, and on the brink of a new life. He realizes, "She is afraid of my living among my kind, especially now that so many young men are dying of AIDS. She is expecting me to die of AIDS."

AIDS is the character all other characters maneuver around, containing as it does the fullness of both sex and death within
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I finished it, circled back and started reading it again. I got partway through and realized I’d been devouring it at a breakneck speed.

The chapters are broken into smaller collections of paragraphs, snippets that at times read like diary entries.

A document of Provincetown from 1991-94, it describes life in all its complexity amid the AIDS epidemic and, now amid a worldwide COVID-19 quarantine, is surprisingly relevant and timely.
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This has a good voice. It’s well done, though I like the sentence/paragraph level best. I get lost a little on the larger scope from that and have to make myself focus again, but that’s probably just me.
Christine Corrigan
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Paul Lisicky arrived in Provincetown, MA in 1991 as a fellow in the Fine Arts Work Center during the height of the AIDS crisis. Part coming of age story, identity story, and meditation on the meaning of life during a time filled with so much death, it seemed an appropriate book for these pandemic days. Lisicky writes taunt, yet lyric, prose, baring the essence of this time and place with a sharp lens. One of the particularly masterful aspects of this memoir is how Town is more than a setting, it ...more
Joanne Kelly
Apr 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Paul Lisicky takes us on quite a journey through the world of queer life in Provincetown in the time of AIDS. He writes with deep emotion, deep honesty and a poetic sensibility as he explores his own lusty sexuality and need for belonging. The fragmentary nature of his writing made it difficult for me to really engage with this story as well as I would have liked.
Such a moving meditation on a place and time. I’m grateful to have gone to Provincetown for the first time last summer, so it was easy to feel myself there again.
Lance Richardson
An absolute knockout.
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PAUL LISICKY is the author of The Narrow Door, Unbuilt Projects, The Burning House, Famous Builder, and Lawnboy. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, Conjunctions, Fence, The Iowa Review, The Offing, Ploughshares, Tin House, and many other anthologies and magazines. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he’s the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National ...more

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