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In Profile: Michael Luongo

In Profile: Michael Luongo

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Part Sex and the City and part And the Band Played On, Michael Luongo's debut novel, The Voyeur, opens a window into the post'protease inhibitor, premillennium era of the New York City AIDS epidemic--when the nascent Internet revolution was gearing up to replace the shuttering porn houses as a source of sexual exploration. Luongo's novel--due out from Alyson Books in April--charts the delayed coming-of-age of a young psychology Ph.D. candidate, Jason Green. While conducting outreach work for a research project on the sex practices of HIV-positive gay New Yorkers, Jason is swept into a late-night sexual underground that both wrinkles his prudish nose and titillates his more repressed desires. Deeply insecure, he cloaks his own sexuality behind the blinders of academic research and manages to overlook his problems with sexual intimacy and the fact that his drifting boyfriend is secretly HIV-positive. Swirling around Jason is a zany supporting cast of fellow researchers, each with his or her own sexual quirk: the Latino sex addict, the unhappily married woman trapped in the body of a gay man, the secret leather fetishist with a penchant for Coach products. Currently a prolific travel writer and photographer (read about his work and travels at www.michaelluongo.com), the 38-year-old Luongo based his novel on his experience as a research assistant on various HIV prevention projects in the late 1990s. He hopes a work of fiction will make a mark in a way that such research cannot. 'By making the novel dark humor, I'm making it accessible to a larger audience,' he says. 'What I was trying to do is take a look at how prevention research is done today and humanize it.'

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