When one talks about the gay community, all they can think of is either sex or stereotyped behaviour patterns. They cannot look beyond it. There is something about the stereotypes and more than anything else, it is the glorification of them through media. Every so-called action and behaviour is recorded and then used by popular media to poke fun at the gay community. There are also times when gay men and women subscribe to these stereotypes and give them the strength, but beyond that it is about humans at the end of the day. Falling in love, wanting it all, desiring one another and at the same time oscillating between intense passion and intense hate.
“Hate: A Romance” by Tristan Garcia is about just that – deep rooted emotions in an ever-changing world. The first four chapters of the book introduce the four protagonists – Willie, Doumé, Leibo and Liz. The story is narrated by Liz and the relationships are seen through her eyes. The book then carries on with how these characters met and their relationships. It is all about their choices, their involvement and personal ideologies and their confirmation or not, and how the society at large transforms them.
The book borderlines on sexual preferences and choices. Tristan makes his characters take chances which is remarkably put in his writing. There is no regret and maybe because it is the 80s. It is a book about people making choices and sometimes not. It is about the rise of AIDS and how everything was attributed to gay men. The book beautifully infuses politics with love and issues that need to be talked about and no one does. Relationships are at the core of the book and Garcia uses short chapters to bring out the truths and lies of each intertwined relationship. The four characters are given their own voices (though there is only one narrator) and through each voice, the reader experiences a different view to politics, love, sex, AIDS and but of course hate and how relationships are constantly being forged or ending ruthlessly between these characters.
The writing is sharp and vivid. The core of the novel is intellectual and the contrasting viewpoints are intelligent and at the same reflect the state of the society, then and now. The story takes place in a culture lost to television and at the same time trying very hard to not lose out on the intellectualism and rights and above all trying to sustain love in between hate and opinions.