My Manservant and Me is a story about the trials and tribulations of having a live-in valet. Written from the uneasy perspective of an aging, incontinent author of extremely successful middlebrow plays, we learn about his manservant, a young film actor who is easily moved to both delicate gestures and terrible tantrums; who's been authorized to handle his master’s finances, who orders stock buys, dictates his master’s wardrobe, sleeps in his master's bed, and yet won’t let him watch variety television. My Manservant and Me reveals the rude specificities of this relationship with provocative humor and stylistic abjection. This manservant won't be going anywhere.
"Rendered in crisp, cranky English by Jeffrey Zuckerman, My Manservant and Me is a caustic feast. Its extraordinary bitterness is shot through with a certain debased kink."—Dustin Illingworth, The New York Times
“The novel was published in France in 1991, the year Guibert died of AIDS. His final years were marked by a bleak isolation akin to the one that engulfs the narrator… Guibert is the consummate poet of obsession: the way it unravels the self, and gives it substance, too.”—Kirkus (Starred Review)“Guibert’s unflinching descriptions and unfettered prose put him in a prominent place on the gay fiction continuum, somewhere between J.R. Ackerley and Garth Greenwell. Thanks to Zuckerman’s sumptuous translation, Anglophone readers can enjoy this captivating firecracker.”—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“In My Manservant and Me Guibert builds a short narrative on the idea that AIDS makes young people old. Without once mentioning AIDS, the book gives the thoughts of a very old millionaire (living in the next century) who becomes more and more a victim of his valet, a sort of fiendish secret sharer . . . And yet the complicity between master and servant is loving if bizarre and violent, and the valet is willing to let his master dictate the very text we’re reading, which is dated ‘Kyoto-Anchorage-Paris. January-February 2036’. Throughout Guibert’s eventful and rushed writing career he had regularly alternated surreal novels filled with invented characters and events with thinly disguised autobiography (often not disguised at all). [My Manservant and Me] is perhaps his most successful invention, partly because it gives in such lip-smacking, shocking detail the truth of physical decline and of the humiliation of being dependent on a hired helper. It’s also a very funny book.”—Edmund White, London Review of Books
“in the hands of Jeffrey Zuckerman, who has also translated Guibert’s collection of stories, Written in Invisible Ink, this is a compelling, even unforgettable, if truly repugnant, reading experience. My Manservant and Me is Guibert’s final expression of defiance against any comfortable notions we may have about the approaching end.”—Philip Gambone, The Gay & Lesbian Review