Recommended by Bonnie Jo Campbell
A Life in Men is a story of disease set against a backdrop of disaster—but wait! This joyful, ambitious novel is also an adventure and travelogue traversing three continents. It is a meditation on love, sex, and most importantly friendship, which can overcome time, distance, and even death.
Mary doesn’t want to expire quietly at home, and her determination to live a full life on fast-forward sends her careening wildly at times; she hides her cystic fibrosis from her companions and is careless with alcohol, exposure, and her medical regimen. We fear for her, but admire her determination to triumph rather than simply survive. Like a benevolent god, Frangello loves all her characters, the wild women, the doctors, and the junkies alike. We are present with striking juxtapositions: fresh bread and death, garbage and history, disease and ecstasy.