The narrator, who seemed to me to be deliberately portrayed as having an ambiguous HIV status throughout the book, remarks little on each event as it happens: the death of a lover, the death of a friend, the death of friend/relative with whom he has an ongoing and at times difficult, relationship, with little emotion. This certainly doesn't distract from the realism of the book, it just deepens the tragedy of it and, perhaps more accurately, the trauma of it. More than one soldier has talked about the moment in a battle when there is no more screaming. It seems like Picano's characters were caught in this state; almost in slow motion, enduring, fighting, protesting and in some cases even still loving and partying, while a tragedy unfolded around and even within them. It makes for a heart rending read because you never grow weary of the pathos because it is written so completely into the daily journals of the characters' lives.