Lies: A Diary, 1986-1999

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This latest installment of Ned Rorem's diary opens in 1986, when the author is sixty-two, and closes in 1999, when he is seventy-five. Though Rorem remains as energetic as ever during these years,new books written, new music composed,the tone of this volume is autumnal: His life and his world are winding down. He mourns the passing of dear friends, endures the indignities of growing old, and notes with bitterness the collapse of the taste and standards that once defined his artistic circle. As AIDS becomes an epidemic, he traces its grim course through the gay community and through the discourse of the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton years. Lies is an anthology of forms, each entry a carefully chosen, brightly coloured tile in a literary mosaic, with all that readers have come to expect from Rorem: erotic fantasies, gratuitous slights, aphorisms, indiscretions, program notes, puns, punditry, and beauty.