Brad Gooch arrived in New York in the late 1970s, yearning for artistic and personal freedom. Smash Cut is his bold and intimate memoir of this exhilarating time and place. At its center is his love affair with film director Howard Brookner, pieced together from fragments of memory and fueled by a panoply of emotions, from blazing ecstasy to bleakest despair.
Gooch and Brookner’s intense relationship is haunted by the specter of addiction—heroin (Brookner) and promiscuous sex (Gooch)—and the lure of temptation. As both men try to reconcile love and fidelity with the irresistible desire to enjoy the carnal abandon of the age, they live together and apart. Gooch works briefly as a model in Milan, then returns to the city and discovers his vocation as an artist.
Brookner falls ill with a mysterious virus that soon has a terrifying name: AIDS. And the story, and life in the city, is suddenly overshadowed by this new demon plague that will ravage a generation and transform the creative world. Gooch charts the progress of Brookner through his illness, and writes unforgettably about endings: of a great talent, a passionate love affair, and an incandescent era.
Beautifully written, full of rich detail and poignant reflection, recalling a time and a place and group of friends with affection and clarity, Smash Cut is an extraordinary memoir and an exquisite account of an epoch.