Introduction to a new edition of Hervé Guibert’s memoir To the Friend Who Did Not Save my Life.
Andrew Durbin Hervé Guibert: Living Without a Vaccine, New York Review of Books, June 12, 2020,
Adapted from the introduction to a new edition of Hervé Guibert’s To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life, published by Semiotext(e) / Native Agents and MIT Press.
In 1988 the French novelist and photographer Hervé Guibert was diagnosed with HIV. Two years later, Éditions Gallimard published To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life, a stark autobiographical book about his desperate effort to gain access to an experimental “AIDS vaccine.” To the Friend made Guibert both wealthy and famous, especially after an appearance on the French TV show Apostrophes.
The central and most arresting portrait is of Guibert’s mentor, the philosopher Muzil, based on Michel Foucault, whose death the writer repeatedly returns to in the first half of the novel.
Guibert’s gripping revelation, in the…
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