Sex, Death & Enlightenment: A True Story

Pat Enkyo O’Hara

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Mark Matousek

Riverhead Books: New York, 1996.

288 pp., $22.95 (cloth).


When I first saw the title Sex, Death and Enlightenment, I thought the author had to be kidding. The hottest topics of the ’90s together in one book? But Mark Matousek isn’t kidding, even if he employs a witty, hip awareness to tell the story of his spiritual search, a search that started on a sunny Jamaican beach when he noticed a Kaposi’s sarcoma lesion on his ex-lover’s foot:

Though it was on John’s foot and not mine, I knew without question that the virus was in me. There was almost nothing I hadn’t done. I’m one of the lucky people who remembers what sex was like in 1975, perhaps the last time in history of human intercourse when semen was a prize, not a poison, a secret, salty swap of the very thing that made you a man.

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