Michael's Circle - Living with Aids (1995)
Bob Coppes made his debut in 1995 with ‘Michael’s Circle – Living with Aids’; a moving story about the illness and the loss of his brother, and about the circle of friends who surrounded him.
‘Life can only be understood at the end, looking back, while the way to live it is forwards. Now I am there, I'm so surprised. There is something new added to my thoughts and to my being, to who I am.'
'If with hindsight you look back on your life, you get a clearer picture of it than when you are in the middle of it. That is why in that last phase of my life I wanted to write about myself, about my life, my ideas and the values that I thought were important. Because despite my being infected with the deadly AIDS virus, I could not think of myself as being utterly pitiful. It had to be like this and I was convinced that in a much wider perspective there was a meaning for it.’
Michael died and his life starting with the HIV-infection till his death has been put into words by his brother. For this Bob Coppes used the accounts of Michael, family and friends. Through different perspectives of the reporting, a splendid and moving impression of the principal person is presented, but also of his friends who surrounded him, his circle. The characters are cleverly depicted, serious and humorous occurrences alternate. Yet it is not a melancholic book, it tells more about the resilience of humans and about their wish to pursue a purpose; a moving document.
Publishing company De Brink/Ploegsma, 1995
Amsterdam ISBN 90-216-7221-9
The press about ‘Michael’s Circle – Living with Aids’
Chantal van den Bossche in HIV News – June 1995:
“’Michael’s Circle’ gives insight into the environment of Michael, but also in the environment of those who were most involved in his life (…) and the variation of perspective in the form of interviews gives you as reader the impression that you knew Michael.”
Hans van Dam in Relevant, quarterly of the Dutch society for Voluntary Euthanasia – Juli 1995:
“The attention for euthanasia and help with suicide threatens to concentrate on procedural aspects. This clouds the insight in experiences and feelings of people who ask for death. How the desire for death can arise and what the influence is on others, is keenly portrayed in the book ‘Michael’s Circle – Living with Aids’.
“By means of carefully selected diary fragments of Michael and discussions with relatives and friends Coppes paints a sound portrait of his deceased brother. The emotional moments are reflected with restraint; the book is penetrating, but not looking for sensation.”
“’Michael’s Circle’ makes clear how hurtful a forced parting can be. But also that the people from whom the parting is so difficult, are needed to make that parting as dignified as possible.”
De GAY Krant (The GAY Newspaper) – 7 Juli 1995:
“…a clear and ‘healthily compelling’ document which, through the views of the people around Michael, has become a very fascinating book, rich in perspective.”
Filip Devos in Dagblad De Standaard (Daily Newspaper), Belgium – 5 October 1995:
“Especially because of the many variations in perspective and the smooth style, Michael’s Circle reads very easy. It has become a moving and fascinating account, a small document humain.”
“…a serene reconstruction…”
Angelique Doodkorte in COC-magazine XL – October 1995:
“Impressive is Michael’s fighting spirit (…) Bob Coppes leaves us with a bittersweet melancholy; a mix of admiration and sorrow. And all of this fortunately without any pathetic feeling or sentiment.”
Mark Veldkamp in De Telegraaf - 27 januari 1996:
“Homage to Michael.”