Book Reviews

Alan's haunting novel of the AIDS epidemic, As If Death Summoned, was released on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2020, and is a finalist for the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards. Watch the book trailer here. Read the reviews here.

 

Initially, I have to confess that I was not expecting to enjoy this novel. Haven’t we all read enough AIDS novels already? Do we really need another one? But once I started, I couldn’t put it down. Rose’s novel retells the early days of the AIDS pandemic in Australia and the States during the 80s and 90s, a time when being diagnosed with HIV meant one’s death was imminent...I can honestly say that I would not have missed reading his novel.

                                                                                          Keith John Glaeske, Out in Print
                                                                                          [Read the full review here.]

                                                                                                                                                 

As heartwarming and hope-giving as it is heartbreaking, As If Death Summoned showcases the best and worst aspects of the fight against HIV.

                                                                                         Aimee Jodoin, Foreword Reviews
                                                                                         [Read the full review here.]

                                                                                                                                             

... revelatory, cathartic, and inspiring (p. 3) ... As If Death Summoned evokes the ultimate paradox...that nothing confirms and sweetens life and living like the direct confrontation with death and dying. That bittersweet sentiment permeates this book, and offers us, besides a dramatic chronicle of suffering and loss, hopefulness and humor...(p. 13)

                                                                                         Hal Calbom, Columbia River Reader
                                                                                         [Read the full review here.]

 

“It was a dark time, a frightening time, a perpetually sad time,” [Rose] said. “But we also saw the good in humanity rise up to its noblest and best. There was so much courage and compassion, so much grace and dignity, so much love and self-sacrifice. And humor, undying humor in the face of death.”

                                                                                        The Daily News, Longview, WA, January 14, 2021
                                                                                        [Read the full article here.]

 

Heart-wrenching and at the same time heart-lifting, Rose ingeniously draws the reader in with his exquisite prose, raw emotion and dark humor. To be able to laugh and cry at the same time is a nod to Rose’s astute insight into the human condition where, even when surrounded by darkness, there can still be light...Inspired by true stories, As If Death Summoned is a must-read in today’s climate of prejudice and uncertainty. It is a stark reminder of a time when courage, dignity and hope transcended fear...

                                                                                         Hannah Dennison
                                                                                         Author of the Honeychurch Hall Mysteries,
                                                                                         the Island Sisters Mysteries, and
                                                                                         the Vicky Hall Mysteries


 A luminous novel...In a deeply moving Author’s Note, Alan shares “I find a peculiar symmetry that, just as I am bringing one defining epidemic of my life to a close with this book, another epidemic begins. There are similarities between them beyond both being caused by viruses – a retrovirus earlier, a coronavirus now." And after listing the similarities of the two epidemics, he points out the very significant differences – "This time it is not happening to Those People, but to all of us"... This message alone is reason to own this book!...An involving, beautifully offered novel, Alan Rose makes a significant impact with this excellent book. Very highly recommended.

                                                                                          Grady Harp
                                                                                          Author of The Art of Man series


… one of the most profound and riveting autobiographical novels I have read in years. I read it straight through in one intense sitting. Alan Rose’s writing is alive, seamlessly weaving the emotions of grief, anger, love, acceptance, and joy in an ever accelerating tale…At a time when we find ourselves paralyzed by yet another pandemic, the parallels Rose draws between the two diseases and the means to address them are uncanny…One can only hope that we as a society will return home from this Bogong-like “blizzard,” with both our bodies and our souls intact, better and wiser than we were before. Through the pages of this brilliant story, Rose demonstrates that this can indeed be done. That life is to be lived with intention, artistry, and purpose. That we are not resigned.

                                                                                           Liesl Messerschmidt, MPH
                                                                                           HIV program researcher and director
                                                                                           Health and Development Consulting International

 

I spent much of this novel fighting back tears. In many other instances, I was chuckling at the first person character’s wry, snarky humor...This book is, in a way, a catalogue of the many different types of people who were caught up in the tragedy of those years: many you will admire, some you will not, and some will call forth a mixture of feelings. In that sense this book is full of surprises, as we watch these many characters unfold against the backdrop of anxiety, diagnosis, and death...But going even deeper, the novel grapples with moral ambiguities and philosophical mysteries concerning the nature of life and death and reality. In our current era of the COVID-19 pandemic (2020), Rose’s book is a valuable contribution to this ongoing human conversation. 

                                                                                             Jeff Stookey
                                                                                             Author of the Medicine for the Blues trilogy

 

Vivid and heartbreaking...one of the best works I have read in a long time. I will reflect on the characters for weeks to come. This tale grips the reader as it tenderly draws them on a journey that champions rebuilding life out of grief, loss, and suffering during an epidemic that swept away a generation...If you read only one novel at this moment, it should be this one.

                                                                                              Vikki J. Carter, producer of the podcast,
                                                                                              Authors of the Pacific Northwest

 

This novel captures the heart, passion, and humour of those on the frontlines of HIV/AIDS work. The devastation, the loss, the trying-to-keep-going. It’s all here...a beautiful, intriguing, and authentic novel about living [and] dying... 

                                                                                              Kinzie Things (British Columbia)
                                                                                              [Read the full article here.]