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.
“Hervé Guibert wrote about the ravaging of AIDS in controversial, self-exposing, always defiant fiction. A revival of his work places it within the canonical literature of illness.”—Julian Lucas, The New Yorker
“Futility and botched execution—combined, in Guibert’s work, with finesse, concision, and a heavy dose of negative capability, which includes curiosity about the worst things that can befall a body—are undying aesthetic and spiritual values, worth cherishing in any literature we dare to call our own.”—Wayne Koestenbaum, Bookforum
“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