The Works of Guillaume Dustan
In My Room; I'm Going Out Tonight; Stronger Than Me
Guillaume Dustan's first three novels, published in France between 1996 and 1998, describing the narrator's sexual odyssey through a Paris still haunted by AIDS.
This volume collects a suite of three wildly entertaining and trailblazing short novels by the legendary French anti-assimilationist LGBTQ+ writer Guillaume Dustan. Published sequentially in France between 1996 and 1998, the three novels are exuberant and deliberately affectless accounts of the narrator's sexual odyssey through a Parisian club and bath scene still haunted by AIDS.
In My Room (1996) takes place almost entirely in the narrator's bedroom. The middle volume, I'm Going Out Tonight (1997), finds him venturing out onto the gay scene in one long night. Finally, in Stronger Than Me (1998), the narrator reflects on his early life, which coincided with the appearance and spread of the AIDS virus in France.
A close contemporary of Dennis Cooper, Brett Easton Ellis, Kevin Killian, and Gary Indiana, Guillaume Dustan offer deadpan autofiction that is at once satirical and intimate, and completely contemporary.
Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex. Politics, despair, drugs, music, joy. Dustan remains the sexiest and most radical writer of late years of the AIDS epidemics in France after Hervé Guibert. From the almost cognitive experience of anal fucking to the critique of social and family institutions, Dustan uses queer sexuality and writing to extract himself from the bourgeois context in which he evolved until his early thirties (he as a judge until he discovered he was HIV positive) to overcome the shame of being out casted as sick and to discover the joy of being alive. Intimate and ferocious at the same time, dazzling and unapologetic. Porn reaches grace and beauty. Dustan was my first editor and my master. Don't miss his books.
Paul B. Preciado, author of An Apartment on Uranus
In France the men are all bewilderingly versatile. … One will call the other up from work and say, say, “When I get home from the office will you penetrate me?” With the right sort of drugs they can stay up all night even after trying a legal case, or working for a society couturier. In My Room is a short, sexy novel that doesn't run scared of the sexual and medical.
His books are not the sort of autofictional Aids narratives made famous by his more high-minded predecessor Hervé Guibert, whose interest in "putrefaction, illness, death" Dustan disliked. Instead they are about the banality of living and fucking with HIV. The point of gay literature, he felt, was not to concentrate on "suffering" but "to roll around on the floor and tell people: you're not having your asses sufficiently eaten and you're not doing enough coke."
Lili Owen Rowlands
London Review of Books