Hilton Als grew up in a corner of Brooklyn scarred by riots, racial segregation and sexual prejudice. As a young teenager, he began to glimpse possibility in the different cultures and ways of being he encountered through high school; in the black men and white men who found ways to be together. As a burgeoning writer in a Manhattan pulsing with new culture - with hip hop, Basquiat, nightclubs and new wave - Hilton at last came together with the gay family he had longed for. The timing was not opportune: reports of a 'rare cancer' were beginning to trickle through the press.
Part autobiography, part reportage, part cultural criticism, I Don't Remember weaves the impossible story of queer America in the age of the AIDs crisis. It is an elegy like no other for an unsung generation of gay men: of heroic lovers and friends, visionary makers, artists and creators. By turns lyrical, wry, and exquisite in its poetic, rapid-fire storytelling, it sings a song of the necessity of connection, and the grandness of human endeavor, especially when it comes to loving, and being loved, in the face of social limitations, stigma, and unspeakable tragedy.
Als has a serious claim to be regarded as the next James Baldwin
There are few more fearless, thought-provoking writers at work today.
No one understands the intersections of race, gender and sexuality as intuitively as Als does or explodes them with more brio
Als is one of the most consistently unpredictable and surprising essayists out there, an author who confounds our expectations virtually every time he writes.
Mr. Als is a national treasure
Als is a poet on the page, and his insistence on breaking the essay form defines his liberation as a writer
Als' work is so much more than simply writing about being black or gay or smart. It's about being human
A writer of many moods-meditative, sardonic, haunting, funny, reflective, and unconventional ... a compassionate writer looking for unity--even if it can't always be found
Als is pyrotechnic, lifting off the page in a blast of stinging light and concussive booms that somehow coalesce into profound cultural and psychological illuminations