The trauma of a near-death experience on 9/11 compels an artist to parse his late lover’s AIDS journal for clues he needs to paint again.
Just weeks after the distressing discovery of Rano’s journal, Peter must leave San Francisco for his New York gallery show. He postpones his return to dine with a Harlem art collector named Thomas, an opportunity that vaporizes as Peter witnesses 9/11. Realizing his original flight actually vaporized, Peter’s entire life spins into crisis: he can’t paint. Over the next year, he must grapple with Rano’s secrets as he struggles to paint—and to love.
Peter has company. His art dealer, Erica, must convince her brainy ex to salvage Rano’s brilliant Internet research. Brice must resolve his feelings for Peter and Rano, and for his own curtailed creative career. Immigrant-turned-millionaire Linh must reconcile with her family. As the first anniversary approaches, the collector Thomas waits to see how Peter will honor 9/11, and with whom.
Counterpointing the story of Peter and his friends, Rano’s journal—addressed to his Algerian son Mustafa—chronicles the AIDS crisis while revealing the perspicacity of this Internet researcher. Only by uncovering the ultimate clue Rano left online can Peter and his friends move forward together.
Dear Mustafa is an historical novel describing the AIDS crisis from the inside and connecting it in new ways to other American tragedies, from Vietnam to 9/11.