Reminiscent of Joan Didion’s The White Album or Kurt Vonnegut’s Palm Sunday, Visions and Revisions is a collage-style portrait of a tumultuous era. Peck’s kaleidoscopic narrative puts the reader on the streets of NYC during the AIDS crisis and also touches on such diverse subjects as the serial murders of ...
Reminiscent of Joan Didion’s The White Album or Kurt Vonnegut’s Palm Sunday, Visions and Revisions is a collage-style portrait of a tumultuous era. Peck’s kaleidoscopic narrative puts the reader on the streets of NYC during the AIDS crisis and also touches on such diverse subjects as the serial murders of gay men, Peck’s first loves upon coming out, and the transformation of LGBT people from marginal, idealistic fighters to their present place in a world of widespread, if fraught, mainstream acceptance.
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“Peck has galvanized his reputation as one of the most eloquent voices of his generation.”
—The New York Times
“Peck is not only one of the leading literary voices of his generation, but also one of the few avant-garde writers of any age who is changing the rules for prose fiction. His novels simultaneously define and defy the genre.”
—Los Angeles Times
“Few writers have Dale Peck's nerve. He writes without secrets, packing his novels with the intimacies of his life, his family, his sexuality. ”
“[Dale Peck] gives me what I look for most when I open a new book: a world that is our world and also full of things I didn't know, characters in scenes that are at once recognizable and indelible. ”
“Death is present throughout this intense narrative, but it appears as a theme with particularly dark power in Peck’s gutsy paralleling of the devastating impact of AIDS on the gay community with the horrors of gay serial killers of the era ... Peck contrasts his findings about this tragic and frightening time of ignorance, discrimination, fear, suffering, and lack of compassion and support with today’s far more enlightened attitudes toward illness, health care, and LGBT people.”
“The breadth of [Visions and Revisions] demonstrates his skill as a journalist, social analyst, essayist, diarist, poet and novelist. The entire first 172 pages serve as a preface and footnote both to the concluding section, “13 ecstasies of the soul”. These final pages elevate the entire text from sociology to poetry, theology, and mysticism rooted in the physical experience of the body. ”
“A brilliant memoir ... Visions and Revisions gives us intense flashes of intimacy, revelations most writers wouldn't have the balls to put on paper ... The best moments come when Peck's punchy genius fails, when a ghost suddenly steps into his writing room, when the know-it-all puts down his sword and admits he doesn't know how to say what he wishes he could say. ”
“Peck offers a flinty-eyed look into the heart of the H.I.V. epidemic, from the late 1980s until the development of protease inhibitors and combination therapies in the mid-1990s. As we would expect, a portion of Peck’s narrative is told in the letters and stories of those claimed by AIDS — fellow activists, friends, lovers — and of course his work for Act Up is crucial. But the investigation of serial killers who trolled for gay men in London and New York provides perhaps the strongest elicitation of those years of ignorance, discrimination and fear ... A compelling snapshot of the social activism that defined the era. ”
“At times engrossingly easy to read and at times extremely emotionally difficult, Visions and Revisions is so intimate that it feels almost like reading someone’s diary. It is a powerful reminder of how far we’ve come in our treatment of and attitudes regarding HIV and AIDS. In addition, Peck’s smart, compassionate, insightful book reminds us that, though that journey has been long and hard, it is something to be remembered and to be proud of.”
“[Visions and Revisions] provides a unique bird's eye view into how one man coped with stigma and fear in the early days of a pandemic that still rages. As more and more people – infectious disease physicians included--have dimmer recollections of the horrible march of HIV in 1980 and 1990s America, immersing oneself in the early days of the plague with a colorful tour guide becomes increasingly more important. ”