“The Storm: One Voice from the AIDS Generation” by Christopher Zyda— Facing the Memories

Zyda, Christopher. “The Storm: One Voice from the AIDS Generation”, Rare Bird Books, 2020.

Facing the Memories

Amos Lassen

It was not that long ago, 1986, when this world faced the deadly epidemic of AIDS. It was a horrible time for the world and devastating to the gay community. Many have been able to bury the memories of that terrible time and many still have trouble dealing with what they witnessed and experienced. In “The Storm”, Christopher Zyda confronts his long-buried and painful memories of the fifteen-year journey he was a part of and it is a touching love story set against the early years of the epidemic in Los Angeles.  

It began in early 1984, when Chris was a twenty-one year old UCLA English Literature major. He came out as gay knowing that he would risks ostracism from his fraternity brothers. The AIDS epidemic was just beginning to explode in gay communities across the United States. Not long after, Chris met and fell in love with Stephen, a graduate of Yale University and Law School. The two of them built a life together as their friends began to fall sick and die from AIDS. 

Early on Stephen began showing symptoms of AIDS in and Chris faced a difficult choice as he is certain that he, too, would eventually be stricken by the disease. He abandoned his writing career and went to the UCLA business school so that he can then earn enough money to pay for healthcare during Stephen’s illness. 

Chris’s story is one of optimism, and love and it is also the history of LGBTQ Los Angeles under AIDS. It is hard to read at times because it brings back the memories of loss and despair yet it also is about the emotions of forgiveness, the power of love, spiritual growth and living each day, dreams, and, of course, survival.

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