Set in 1986, a year after Rock Hudson’s death brought the news of AIDS into living rooms and kitchens across America, author Carter Sickels’s second novel The Prettiest Star shines light on an overlooked part of the epidemic, those men who returned to the rural communities and families who’d rejected them. Sickels discusses his book with Wiley Cash.
The night I deployed, four inches of ice fell across the state of Arkansas. This was late December, in the dark days right after Christmas. My friends and I were home from the various colleges we’d escaped to after high school, and in the few days before we disappeared again we drank too much and woke in the cold morn- ings hurting in a hundred different ways. A fine mist fell through the streetlights, and already the temperature was dropping.