John Foster's moving yet unsentimental account of the life of his partner, Juan Cespedes. In 1981 the young Cuban dancer Juan is a struggling dancer in NYC. There he meets John, an Australian historian. The two live in New York, where Juan tries to make it on Broadway. They cross the globe together, battling the disease taking the lives of gay men everywhere. Until his final days, Juan is captivating, witty, headstrong. First published in 1993, shortly before Foster's own death from AIDS, this a story told with humour and skill, about a radiant love affair in a time of darkness.
'[A] literary masterpiece...Unparalleled in Australian letters...Makes most fiction, here or elsewhere, look paltry by comparison.' Peter Craven, from the Introduction 'A superbly crafted memoir...[A] subtle balance of formality and intimacy, of rationality and passion.' John Rickard, from the Afterword 'Brilliantly accomplished use of language...Few other books documenting this illness rumble and resonate with such sustained power.' Robert Dessaix '[Take Me to Paris, Johnny] reminds us of the complexity of relationships...of the simultaneous strength and fragility of love.' Denis Altman 'A remarkable, beautifully written memoir that captures and preserves the jittery zeitgeist among active gay men moving around the globe in the early '80s.' Gail Bell, Monthly 'Finely written...Foster deftly recounted his "cross-colour, cross-class" relationship, and brought his lover back to life on the page.' Steve Dow, Age
John Foster was born in Melbourne in 1944. He studied at the University of Melbourne, then in Germany and the United Kingdom. In 1971 he returned to the University of Melbourne, where for many years he lectured in the Department of History. He edited the collections Community of Fate: Memoirs of German Jews in Melbourne (1986) and Victorian Picturesque: The Colonial Gardens of William Sangster (1989). Take Me to Paris, Johnny was Foster's tribute to his lover, Juan Cespedes, a Cuban dancer who died of AIDS in 1987. The memoir was published in 1993 and shortlisted for the Age Book of the Year award; within a year, John Foster himself was dead.