Last Watch of the Night: Essays Too Personal and Otherwise

Last Watch of the Night: Essays Too Personal and Otherwise

Paul Monette / Oct 20, 2020

Last Watch of the Night Essays Too Personal and Otherwise With Borrowed Time and Becoming a Man the National Book Award winner for nonfiction this collection completes Paul Monette s autobiographical writing Brimming with outrage yet tender this is a r

  • Title: Last Watch of the Night: Essays Too Personal and Otherwise
  • Author: Paul Monette
  • ISBN: 9780156002028
  • Page: 447
  • Format: Paperback
  • With Borrowed Time and Becoming a Man the 1992 National Book Award winner for nonfiction this collection completes Paul Monette s autobiographical writing Brimming with outrage yet tender, this is a remarkable book Philadelphia Inquirer.

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    About "Paul Monette"

      • Paul Monette

        Interviews wiredforbooks paulmoneDocumentary On Brink of Summer s End 1996youtu Xh6e6LCwIEoOnline Guide to Paul Monette s papers at UCLA findaid.oaclib findaid In novels, poetry, and a memoir, Paul Monette wrote about gay men striving to fashion personal identities and, later, coping with the loss of a lover to AIDS.Monette was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1945 He was educated at prestigious schools in New England Phillips Andover Academy and Yale University, where he received his B.A in 1967 He began his prolific writing career soon after graduating from Yale For eight years, he wrote poetry exclusively.After coming out in his late twenties, he met Roger Horwitz, who was to be his lover for over twenty years Also during his late twenties, he grew disillusioned with poetry and shifted his interest to the novel, not to return to poetry until the 1980s.In 1977, Monette and Horwitz moved to Los Angeles Once in Hollywood, Monette wrote a number of screenplays that, though never produced, provided him the means to be a writer Monette published four novels between 1978 and 1982 These novels were enormously successful and established his career as a writer of popular fiction He also wrote several novelizations of films.Monette s life changed dramatically when Roger Horwitz was diagnosed with AIDS in the early 1980s After Horwitz s death in 1986, Monette wrote extensively about the years of their battles with AIDS Borrowed Time, 1988 and how he himself coped with losing a lover to AIDS Love Alone, 1988 These works are two of the most powerful accounts written about AIDS thus far.Their publication catapulted Monette into the national arena as a spokesperson for AIDS Along with fellow writer Larry Kramer, he emerged as one of the most familiar and outspoken AIDS activists of our time Since very few out gay men have had the opportunity to address national issues in mainstream venues at any previous time in U.S history, Monette s high visibility profile was one of his most significant achievements He went on to write two important novels about AIDS, Afterlife 1990 and Halfway Home 1991 He himself died of AIDS related complications in 1995.In his fiction, Monette unabashedly depicts gay men who strive to fashion personal identities that lead them to love, friendship, and self fulfillment His early novels generally begin where most coming out novels end his protagonists have already come to terms with their sexuality long before the novels projected time frames Monette has his characters negotiate family relations, societal expectations, and personal desires in light of their decisions to lead lives as openly gay men.Two major motifs emerge in these novels the spark of gay male relations and the dynamic alternative family structures that gay men create for themselves within a homophobic society These themes are placed in literary forms that rely on the structures of romance, melodrama, and fantasy.Monette s finest novel, Afterlife, combines the elements of traditional comedy and the resistance novel it is the first gay novel written about AIDS that fuses personal love interests with political activism.Monette s harrowing collection of deeply personal poems, Love Alone 18 Elegies for Rog, conveys both the horrors of AIDS and the inconsolable pain of love lost The elegies are an invaluable companion to Borrowed Time.Before the publication and success of his memoir, Becoming a Man, it seemed inevitable that Monette would be remembered most for his writings on AIDS Becoming a Man, however, focuses on the dilemmas of growing up gay It provides at once an unsparing account of the nightmare of the closet and a moving and often humorous depiction of the struggle to come out Becoming a Man won the 1992 National Book Award for nonfiction, a historical moment in the history


    455 Comments

    1. I've been visiting my own grave for years now--pre-need, as they call it--and I don't require any further vigil from anybody. Unless it is some kind of safety zone. And as long as there's no piety in the gesture. I don't like flowers, but the deer do. Keats and Lawrence and Stevenson all died of their lungs, robbed by a century whose major products were soot and sulfur. We queers on Revelation hill [in Forest Lawn Cemetery], tucking our skirts about us so as not to touch our Mormon neighbors, di [...]


    2. Confession: I've actually never finished this collection (the two last essays and afterthoughts remain unread), because I know that when I do, I'll have read everything Paul Monette wrote from the 1980s on. And I'm not emotionally prepared for that yet. But I've read the majority of it, and it's just. so. good. Almost every single essay is a knockout, though I'm particularly partial to "Puck" and "A One-Way Fare." It's almost unbearably sad to think how much more beautiful writing we might have [...]


    3. When Borrowed Time came out in 1988, I was deep into my life as a librarian, wife, mother. I was expecting my second child and I believed like so many others that AIDs was a disease that would never touch my life. However, for whatever reason, I read Monette's memoir Borrowed Time, of his life with Rog and found the book touching and the events tragic.More than 25 years later, I was reading about the books published by Open Road Media and there was Paul Monette's name. I had not thought of him i [...]


    4. This is a collection of essays that Monette wrote the last years of his life, while he was fighting against AIDS.Various are the themes he discusses, each more important than the other.There is "Puck", named from his dog. Here he describes how the simple core of walking the dog at night has somehow helped Paul and Roger during a very difficult moment in their relationship. At the same time, when Roger is gone, the dog will be the loyal companion and a sort of "family" who has to "approve" as wel [...]


    5. I bought this collection of essays because it contains my favorite essay about visiting a grave: "3275." That is the number of the author's own grave, beside the first love of his life, whom he lost to AIDS, and beneath the grave of the second, lost several years earlier. Monette wanted his own epitaph to read "Died of Homophobia, Murdered by His Government." It's the only essay I've read written by a dying man contemplating the hole that will swallow him.Monette didn't believe in life after dea [...]


    6. These essays by my second favorite writer ever were written right before he died. They are angry, funny, moving, elegiac. He reaches in and grabs your heart and doesn't let go until you are transformed. Corny? Sue me, I am madly in love with this writing.


    7. I just re-read the short story, Gert from Paul Monette's Last Watch of the Night. I think it's one of the best short stories ever written. The fact that its memoir makes it even more intimate and important. What a beautiful voice in Paul Monette which we lost during the AIDS crisis.


    8. Read three in a row by Monette, with this one coming last. Loved it. Reading all three together made it feel like reading a really comprehensive memoir.


    9. Excellent collection of essays as Monette deals with the final stages of AIDS. Nicely captures the March on Washington.



    10. After reading this third book by Paul Monett in a row I find myself becoming a huge fan of his work. This volume of essays is a third, I've not read the first two volumes, but loved reading this after reading his two memoirs. It fills in parts left out of the memoirs and weaves through during and after the time when his first partner, Roger, died of AIDS. His writing is deep, wide, and smart. He writes about his travels, which to some extent were driven by the great writers Keats or Edmond Wilso [...]


    11. Another wonderful and well thought out book, by Paul Montette, having been involved in being a volunteer in palliative care, sitting besides bed-sides of persons who had barely begun to live dying, back in the nineties I can so relate, to the pain and sorrow, and often being abandoned by their own family,watching other friends die, I am amazed this plague passed me by ( now being 72) as I certainly did not take any of the precautions, and am amazed at the lack of care many of today/s gay active [...]


    12. The subtitle is the key to why I ranked the book only three stars. Some of the chapters are too personally related to Mr. Monette's life; they do not engage a reader who was not an intimate acquaintance or a current seeker of a Paul Monette autobiography. A chapter devoted to a re-telling of a friend's encounter with Greta Garbo. An account of travelling to obscure ruins. I kept reading for the clinical details of HIV, of the early struggles to get a grasp of the disease; however, I found I regr [...]


    13. A collection of essays written by Monette in '92 and '93, Last Watch of the Night chronicles his thoughts on family, spirituality and the church, health and disease, writing, and AIDS, primarily as connected to being gay in America in the 1970s and 1980s. All personal and heavily anecdotal, the essays veer between being sorrowful, angry, and celebratory, though Monette's sarcastic humor often comes through as well. While a few of the essays come off as being overly self-indulgent, most of them a [...]


    14. I really enjoyed this and I am interested to read more of Paul Monette's work. It's very honest which is quite refreshing. Being all short stories/essays it is easy to put down and pick up again when you're ready to read a bit more, without feeling like you're leaving something behind. Being written in the 90s it also shows us how far we have come as a society in regards to challenging homophobia and understanding HIV/AIDS. We still have a long way to go, and it feels like things are moving slow [...]





    15. Sort of like a sad epilogue to "Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story" -- in a sense "more" from an author you wanted to read much more of, knowing, tragically, the rest of it was never to come.




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