Robert Gluck: About Ed
Bob Glück met Ed Aulerich-Sugai in 1970. Ed was an aspiring artist; Bob wanted to write. They were young men in San Francisco at the high tide of sexual liberation and soon, and for eight years, they were lovers, after which they were friends. Ed was an explorer in the realms of sex. He was beautiful, fragile, exasperating, serious, unassuaged. In 1994 he died of HIV. His dream notebooks became a touchstone for this book, which Glück has been working on for some two decades, while also making his name as a proponent of New Narrative writing and as one of America’s most unusual, venturesome, and lyrical authors. ‘About Ed’ is about Ed, who remains, as our dead do, both familiar and unknowable, faraway and close. It is about Bob too.
The book is a hybrid, at once fiction and fact, like memory, and it takes in many things through tales of political activism and domestic comedy and fury to questions of art and love and experiences of longing and horror. The book also shifts in register, from the delicate to the analytic, to funny and explicit and heartbroken. It begins in the San Francisco of the early 1980s, when Ed and Bob have been broken up for a while. aIds is spreading, but Ed has yet to receive his diagnosis. It follows him backward through his life with Bob in the 1970s and forward through the harrowing particulars of death. It holds on to him and explores his art. It ends in his dreams.2023