Hate: A Romance

Theo Tait writes:

Hate is the story of four people: Elizabeth Levallois, the narrator, a cultural journalist at Libération; her long-term lover, a married media academic called Jean-Michel Leibowitz; her friend Dominique Rossi, a gay activist; and William Miller, an unbalanced young man who is Dominique’s lover for a time and then spends the rest of his life trying to destroy him. William’s behaviour drives much of the plot, as he becomes a writer and a minor media sensation, famous for adopting increasingly extreme positions. With Aids ravaging the gay community, he turns into an enthusiastic proponent of ‘barebacking’ (unprotected sex) and sets up ‘conversion parties’, where HIV positive men can ‘fertilise guys who are negative’ – infuriating Dominique, a campaigner for Aids prevention. Though grim in places, the novel is mostly a romp: light and twisty, with William’s nihilistic ravings set against witty cultural observations and Parisian in-jokes. Garcia calls it ‘a story of moral adventure’. Really, it’s a black comedy of ideas – of people driven mad by intellectual squabbles and ideological contortions.

(LRB 17 March 2011)

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