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Paul Monette Biography

(1945–95), Taking Care of Mrs. Carroll, The Gold Diggers

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Edgar Mittelholzer Biography to Mr Norris Changes Trains

American novelist, born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, educated at Yale. Monette's early novels, such as Taking Care of Mrs. Carroll (1978) and The Gold Diggers (1979), were mostly traditional romances in which gay characters replaced straight characters. He is best known for Becoming A Man: Half A Life Story (1992; National Book Award), an autobiography covering childhood to graduation, and Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir (1988), describing the excruciating physical decline and subsequent death of his first lover, Roger Horwitz, and one of the first books to document the devastating psychological and social impact of AIDS. Afterlife (1990) and Halfway Home (1991) both present gay protagonists dying of AIDS. Another important contribution to AIDS literature is Love Alone: 18 Elegies for Rog (1988) in which Monette experiments with various forms to express his grief and fury. Many of the essays in Last Watch of the Night (1993) were written while Monette was seriously ill with AIDS, and represent his own slow shift towards death. His last work, West of Yesterday, East of Summer (1994), is a collection of new and selected poetry.

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