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Steven Shaw, an AIDS widower, holds weekly gatherings for two others who also have lost their lovers: Dell Espinoza, who expresses his grief through anger, threats and vandalism, and Sonny, who uses sexuality as an escape. According to PW , ``The story rings poignantly true.'' (Apr.)

After dealing with the subject of AIDS autobiographically in Borrowed Time (LJ 8/88, and an LJ ``Best Book of 1988'') and through poetry in Love Alone ( LJ 4/1/88), Monette turns to fiction. Three men lose lovers to AIDS in the same week and hospital, creating a bond via their common grief and their own AIDS-positive status. Steven withdraws from life, making it difficult to connect with the new love being offered in the person of Mark. Dell is full of rage and plots against a homophobic evangelist. Sonny, the golden boy, simply denies both his grief and his illness, trusting in New Age mysticism to save him. The portrayals of Dell and Sonny border on caricature, but Steven's slow journey to wholeness is as satisfying and real as fiction can get. Highly recommended.--James E. Cook, Dayton & Montgomery Cty. P.L., Ohio

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