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Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders av…
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Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders (urspr publ 2012; utgåvan 2012)

av Samuel R. Delany

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
997215,767 (4.17)6
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.… (mer)
Medlem:JWarren42
Titel:Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders
Författare:Samuel R. Delany
Info:Magnus Books (2012), Paperback, 804 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:***
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders av Samuel R. Delany (2012)

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I imagine I will be having a long think about why it was important for this book to make me uncomfortable. (Hint: I think it's something to do with a dare that AnYONE can be a likable character if we we 'live with them') Also whether I want to read Spinoza cold. ( )
  ansate | Apr 17, 2017 |
This is about two boys who meet and over time form a life-long, committed but open relationship that involves massive amounts of kinky sex. The first 500 pages pretty much just feature pornographic descriptions of these men and their very active sex lives. In the last 300 pages, the world changes and our main characters change jobs and living quarters. From being the community’s garbage men to running a porno theater on the mainland and then to being handymen, they start to slow down out on an island art colony. Having lived with them on such an intimate basis for so many pages, it’s really hard to say goodbye to them at the end of the book. However, I have to say that the first 500 pages could have used some massive editing. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
I want to say better things about this novel, because Delany is a hero of mine...but it's bad. Firstly, I understand the theoretical underpinnings--this is moral, theoretically sound, pornography. I get that Delany's point is that it is ridiculous for us to say it is okay for someone to lust after one body part and yet feel disgust about others. So he leans heavy on the extreme sex, playing on disgust to force us in to a situation where we have to see that. The problem is that the endless scenes of sex go from being titilating to tedious, and they never stop. Ultimately, this is the problem of a character like Morgan Haskell--after a while, the reader comes to recognize that Haskell has nothing useful to contribute to any scene he's in, and that all he ever does is initiate sex or try to provoke other characters with sexual language. I get that Haskell is supposed to represent a primal force in male sexuality, but I found myself dreading any scene he was in. Another major problem is that the evolution of the world around the two characters is part of the main point of the book...which is fine, except that Eric and Morgan pay so little attention to the world outside. The march of time becomes merely background noise rather than an interesting study for us as readers. Lastly, and most disappointingly, we've already seen this relationship in Delany's work before. Eric and Morgan are Marq Dyeth and Rat without any of the subtlety and interesting explorations of being-ness that Dyeth and Rat dealt with. I think that this novel would have been much, much better at a third of the length--cuts that would have been no problem, had he only kept 1 out of every 5 sex scenes. I wish I could recommend this, but I can't--go read The Stars In My Pockets Like Grains Of Sand, instead. ( )
  JWarren42 | Oct 10, 2013 |
THROUGH THE VALLEY... starts in 2007 and shoots decades into the future; I read four or five hundred pages before I saw anything recognizably "science fiction" which speaks, I think, to Delany's phenomenally subtle world-building.

Trigger warnings for basically anything sexual (specifically including sexual violence, incest, intergenerational sex). As with THE MAD MAN or HOGG, best not to read over lunch. As with THE MAD MAN or HOGG, expect to be personally challenged on pretty much every page.

As I'm reading, I am continually reminded of Delany's injunction to us, his students, to "widen the circle of compassion" to include whatever characters might be considered too other, too abject, and I'm in awe of how Delany does just that here, dealing with extremely difficult material.

More to come! ( )
  anderlawlor | Apr 9, 2013 |
Samuel R. Delany has written a beautiful and important book, and one of the best novels I've read in a while.

One aspect of what makes Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders important (if not always beautiful) also makes it a book I won't be recommending to just anyone. That thing is the sex, particularly the sex that occupies a great deal of the first three-hundred or so pages of the book (and never disappears altogether).

Surely, you say, a little of the old in-and-out, even a little of the old gay in-and-out, or—in these fifty-shaded days—even a little kinky BDSMish in-and-out, won't be as off-putting as all that to anybody, and you'd be right. Your grandmother reads books that feature all those things. And that's precisely, I believe, the reason Delany felt the need to go beyond the warm and fuzzy every-day "deviance" with which we've all grown comfortable. He needed to go beyond it, because the philosophical point of this book, has to do with tolerance, and if we're talking about tolerating something we're already comfortable with—gay people, for example, who are willing to adopt the social mores of straight people and not talk to too much about what they do in the bedroom (or the men's room)—then our tolerance doesn't really amount to much.

Thus, in scenes that go on for pages, Delany trots out pederasty, bestiality, coprophagia, urophagia (the squemish should not run to their dictionaries to look up these terms), the ingesting of one's own, and others' mucous, and . . . the list could go on. None of it is condemned, and none of it is gratuitous.

Though readers may be titillated by one or two of the practices Delany details, no one could possibly enjoy them all, and most will be actively repulsed by at least one or two. But Delany makes it clear that the people who do enjoy whichever of the acts disgust us are—people. They are us. There is no circle marked "normal," when it comes to sexuality or anything else, outside of which these people exist.

So attached are we, by the end of the novel, for example, to the two characters whose seventy-plus year relationship the novel chronicles, so richly human has Delany made these two simple working-class men who are in the thick of much of the sexual action, that we can't not understand this. Delany's novel is richly philosophical—Spinoza is the presiding deity—but I'd hate to give the impression that it is only a vehicle for conveying ideas. Much richer than that, it is, first and foremost, art, a vehicle for conveying beauty: the last couple hundred pages, where we see the two central characters grow old and approach death, are unbearably moving.

I won't be recommending this book to everyone I know, but I do wish, with open minds and good will, everyone would read it.
3 rösta dcozy | Aug 22, 2012 |
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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.

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