elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

From Particles and Disputations: Writings for Jeff, A Book of Hours by Philip D. Luing

This is a collection of letters, birthday cards, holiday greetings, anniversary remembrances, various notes Philip D. Luing wrote to his partner Jeffrey Lalonde from when they met, in 1982 until Jeffrey’s death in 1994 and beyond, when Philip finally scattered Jeffrey’s ashes at sea in 1998. It’s the chronicle of their love story, and it’s bittersweet to see how this story grew stronger and deeper year after year; Philip was not sure Jeffrey was his type when they met, on the contrary he was pretty sure he was not. But mind and heart have different perception of life, and Jeffrey became Philip’s center. Philip is a writer, Jeffrey is a furrier and later a store manager, so it’s normal that most of the written words are by Philip.

Unfortunately, this is not only a chronicle of love, it’s also a chronicle of AIDS; Philip and Jeffrey are both diagnosed with AIDS in 1985, and like many others, Jeffrey had the first symptoms of illness around 1990 to then die in 1994. 1994 was an annus horribilis, many people died; what or who choses for Jeffrey to die and for Philip to live? In 2012 Philip is still alive, still HIV+, and I’m sure his life is not simple, but at least he had the chance to grow, to love, to live. He had also the chance to mourn Jeffrey’s death and to be able to find love again in the arms of Charles, a man who is encouraging Philip not to forget Jeffrey, but instead to exalt his life with these writings.

When someone dies, if he was loved, there is the hope he will be remembered. If he is an ordinary man, with an ordinary life, the task to remember him goes to whom was near him. But when also those near him die, what remains of all of them? Sometime the cards, the letters, are saved from going to the shredder by their “prettiness”: if they are nice, colourful cards, well written letters, maybe there is some collector that will find them in a yard sale and buy the stock. But most time then not they are lost, and the memory of the men in them lost as well.

Philip D. Luing is trying to not losing Jeffrey’s memories, it’s not much his own writings he want to preserve, I think what is pushing him is the thought that he himself is not timeless and the desire to permanently mark Jeffrey’s existence in this world.

Amazon Kindle: From Particles and Disputations: Writings for Jeff. A Book of Hours
Publisher: BookBaby; 1 edition (February 14, 2012)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading_list&view=elisa.rolle
Tags: author: philip d. luing, genre: contemporary, length: novel, review

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