Christopher Zyda

The Storm: One Voice from the AIDS Generation

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Christopher Zyda confronts the long-buried and painful memories of his harrowing fifteen-year journey in The Storm: One Voice from the AIDS Generation, a heart-wrenching love story and coming-of-age tale during the early years of the AIDS crisis in Los Angeles.

It all begins in early 1984, when Chris, a twenty-one year old UCLA English Literature major, risks ostracism when he comes out of the closet to his fraternity brothers just as the AIDS pandemic is beginning to explode in gay communities across the United States. Soon afterward, Chris meets and falls in love with Stephen, a graduate of Yale University and Law School, and the two of them build a life together as their friends start to fall sick and die from the spreading storm of AIDS.

Stephen begins showing symptoms of AIDS in early 1986, and Chris faces a difficult choice as he is certain that he, too, eventually will be stricken by the disease. He abandons his writing career and attends the UCLA business school so that he can earn enough money to pay for healthcare during Stephen's illness.

The Storm is filled with heart, optimism, and love, interspersed with Los Angeles history, gay and lesbian history, AIDS history, and the backdrop of the 1980s and 1990s. It is an unflinching and, at times, raw memoir of perseverance, integrity, forgiveness, the power of love, spiritual growth, Carpe Diem, dreams, and, most of all: survival and ultimate triumph.

Author: Christopher Zyda

Hardback Published 8 December 2020 320 pages

"The Storm achieves something remarkable, managing to tell a painfully disturbing story that ultimately offers an inspiring message of hope. With storytelling bravado, Christopher Zyda demonstrates the virtue of English majors becoming great financial executives, as he takes us on a very dark journey that illuminates the worst and best of the human condition. We witness homophobia on full, vicious display, and we also meet people who stepped up to do the right thing, as I was very pleased to learn was the case with so many of Chris’ colleagues at Disney. This memoir is as important as it is riveting, since it delivers a powerful firsthand perspective on what it was like to be gay in America before and during the storm of AIDS, as well as the devastating toll the epidemic took not just on those who were struck down, but on those who survived."Michael D. Eisner, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company

"Christopher Zyda has the soul of an artist and the razor-sharp mind of a senior corporate executive. He brings these two qualities together to make The Storm a singular, exciting, and very intimate memoir. This is a look at the AIDS crisis and prejudice through a unique point of view―that of a senior executive at one of America’s largest and most important corporations, The Walt Disney Company. At the same time, it is a deeply personal, human, and revelatory look at coming of age in a very different America. Chris has written a book that is both devastating and harrowing, but at the same time joyous, optimistic and hopeful. This is the essence of great literature, and The Storm is an important and very moving memoir."Peter Chernin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Chernin Group, and former President and Chief Operating Officer of News Corporation

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