After burying his aged mother, Grief‘s unnamed narrator moves to Washington, D.C., for a fill-in academic job. He rents a top-floor room in the row house of another middle-aged gay man, an emotional shut-in reeling from the toll of AIDS on his generation. Our hero finds some consolation reading (at an implausibly slow pace) the letters of Mary Todd Lincoln, semiprofessional mourner, and tries to forget the rotting roof in his Florida home (”I’m the only person in this house, why does it matter if the roof leaks? I’m not worth a roof”). In a novella that’s not just post-AIDS but virtually post-sex, Andrew Holleran exquisitely captures the many nuances of loss.