cover image Skyland


Andrew Durbin. Nightboat, $12.95 trade paper (136p) ISBN 978-1-64362-027-5

In Durbin’s lush, languid novella (after MacArthur Park), a writer flies to Greece in search of a painting while romanticizing its subject, the French writer Herve Guibert, who died of AIDS in 1991. Guibert wrote his masterpiece, Paradise, under the hallucinatory influence of illness, and the unnamed narrator recognizes in Guibert a kindred spirit, especially for his ability to craft “sustaining art” from his life. The narrator flies to Greece with his friend Shiv to try to track down a portrait of Guibert, mentioned in Guibert’s writing but never seen. (Guibert himself was similarly obsessed with the painter Tsarouchis and had looked for him on Corfu.) On the beach at Patmos, the duo enjoys the sun, the beach, and the scantily clad young men who populate it. They meet a jewelry designer who is staying at a beautiful home in the mountains, along with an entourage of young men. Much sex ensues, before a visit to a secret cave brings the narrator even closer to Guibert, whom he begins to see everywhere. The narrative unfolds at a languid pace in chapters modeled on diary entries. Durbin’s dreamy, sensual odyssey gamely harkens back to a bygone era in gay lit. (July)