Like his legendary Hogg, The Mad Man, and the million-seller Dhalgren,
Samuel R. Delany’s major new novel Through the Valley of the Nest of
Spiders — explicit, poetic, philosophical, and, yes, shocking — propels
readers into a gay sexual culture unknown to most urban gay men and
women, a network of rural gay relations — with the twist that this one is
supported by the homophile Kyle Foundation, started in the early 1980s
by a black multi-millionaire, Robert Kyle III, to improve the lives of
black gay men.
In 2007, days before his seventeenth birthday, Eric Jeffers’ stepfather brings him to live with his mother, who works as a waitress in the foundering tourist town of Diamond Harbor on the Georgia coast. In the local truck stop restroom, on his first day, Eric meets nineteen-year-old Morgan Haskell, as well as half a dozen other gay men who live and work in the area. The boys become a couple, and for the next twenty years labor as garbage men along the coast, sharing their lives and their lovers, learning to negotiate a committed open relationship.
For a decade they manage a rural movie theater that shows pornographic films and encourages gay activity among the audience. Finally, they become handymen for a burgeoning lesbian art colony on nearby Gillead Island, as America moves twenty years, forty years, sixty years into a future fascinating, glorious, and — sometimes — terrifying.