cover image Shade: Anthology of Fict

Shade: Anthology of Fict

Various. Harper Perennial, $12 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-380-78305-2

Upon close inspection, the often-cited ""flowering of gay literature"" has been mainly an expression of the white middle class. In the Life and Brother to Brother were antecedents of writings focusing on men of color, but Shades is the first anthology devoted to fiction by black gay men. It is difficult to single out the best of the many fine offerings. The most unique perspectives, however, come in Bil Wright's ""Your Mother from Cleveland,"" John Keene Jr.'s ""My Son, My Heart, My Life"" and A. Cinque Hicks's ""Spice."" Like the best in any genre, these challenge the reader's comfort level and assumptions, not only about class, race and sexuality but also about narrative structure. Samuel Delany's introduction and his memoir ""Citre et Trans"" contextualize the history of writings by black gay men while serving as reminders that Delany is one of the role models who inspired a generation of writers. Hopefully, what the 23 writers represented here have to say will be heard by an audience that's wider than that identified by the subtitle. (June)