Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders

Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders➸ [Read] ➳ Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders By Samuel R. Delany ➽ – Commemorating fifty years as a novelist Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders is the first new work in five years by the award winning writer Michael Cunningham calls one of the most profound and Commemorating fifty years as Valley of eBook ✓ a novelist Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders is the first new work in five years by the award winning writer Michael Cunningham calls one of the most profound and courageous writers at work today 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 Through the Kindle - 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 s by a black multi millionaire Robert Kyle III to improve the lives of black gay men In 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 the Valley of the Nest PDF/EPUB or coast In the the Valley of Kindle Ò 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 the Valley of the Nest PDF/EPUB or audience Finally they become handymen for a burgeoning lesbian art colony on nearby Gillead Island as the world moves twenty years forty years sixty years into a future fascinating glorious and—sometimes—terrifying. Just found this review now I have to read it reminds me speaking of characters it's difficult to empathize with a father and son named Dynamite and Shit who freuent bathhouses together and are lovers Along with their abusive friend Black Bull and his sex partner whom he keeps in a collar and beatsPeople have trouble relating to this sort of thing? LOL I had no idea Well you know I really have to stretch my empathy muscles to care much about the latest case of adultery between a distinguished older professor and his brilliant female grad studentOn second thought having read about 10% jesus christ what's up with all these homos running around eating each others' cum and boogers and shit? I regret ever having in any way associated with these people Sex I'm doing it wrong I am a huge fan of Samuel R Delany’s early Science Fiction novels Nova and Dhalgren in particular but up until now I had only ever ventured as far as Triton and never had read anything of his later work although I do own a copy of most of it I just had not gotten around to read any of it With Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders his first novel in five years just having been released it seemed like a good start and a nice complement to read his latest after having finished one of his earliest The Fall of the Towers only a few months ago Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders is markedly different from Delany’s early work which is only to expected considering that several decades have passed since then the most surprising divergence being for me at least as how much of a comparatively subdued affair the later novel comes across Books like Babel 17 Nova or The Einstein Intersection are like bright shiny jewels that dazzle with the brilliance of Delany’s writing and vibrate with a sense of adventure Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders by contrast although longer than those other novels put together I was reading the Kindle version but gives 804 pages for the paperback appears on first sight almost pedestrian – there is no plot at all and the prose seems serviceable but not particularly impressive on first look And while the new novel marks in some way a return of Delany to Science Fiction that aspect remains weirdly understated – events begin in 2007 and then continue for about seventy years from there but as a the novel takes place almost exclusively in a small rural Utopian community barely touched by greater events or even technological progress the SFnal aspect only takes place at the margins of the narrative momentous events are merely reported second hand by visitors or auctorial commentary new technologies are only used by minor characters often to some bewilderment of the protagonistsNot at all understated but very much in the reader’s face for much of the novel is the other genre Delany has been writing in namely pornography Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders has a lot of sex and subastantial parts of it are likely to be unsavoury to many – in fact the narrative seems explicitely designed to contain at least one thing for each individual reader that would gross him or her out If snot eating does not do it for you Delany’s fetish for dirt might which something I found rather interesting he consistently seems to associate with masculinity while cleanliness is considered feminine or the piss drinking or the bestiality or the incest or the liberal use of the n word truly there is something for everyone hereThis might sound as if reading the novel was a slog and I have to admit that is what I was afraid of during the first few chapters – somewhat to my surprise though those fears turned out to be entirely unfounded Yes Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders is a novel that is entirely without a plot and yes a large part of it consists of very explicit sex scenes many of them describing things in loving detail that I am at best indifferent about and at worst disgusted by and yet and yet Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders grows on you its seuence of everyday non events and promiscuous sex scenes develops a certain lilting rhythm that lulls you and draws you in until you find yourself hanging on every detail accentuated by the dim but intensely glowing light of the novel’s prose Delany’s writing though less flashy than in his early works is still a marvel to behold uite visceral when he describes a piece of a snot at a level of detail I do not think it has ever been described at before and achingly beautiful when he describes the sun setting on the ocean And as you read on you find yourself actually enjoying the sex scenes even if you don’t share a single kink you start feeling comfortable among the denizens of the Dump and most important of all you come to like the novel’s weird misfit protagonists even to love them And love when everything is said and done is what Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders is all aboutThe novel consists roughly of three parts the transitions somewhat concealed by their slowly blending into each other – youth maturity old age or sex love death Love is very much at its centre the roughly seven decades it describes are the time its protagonist Eric Jeffers and his lover Morgan Haskell commonly known as Shit spend together as a couple That is a very long time and the book is very good at making the reader feel the way time flows how it extends and contracts and how Eric’s and Shit’s relationship changes through the years It is doing a particularly excellent job at differentiating how the passing of time is experienced differently at various stages throughout life having a tendency to go by faster as one ages And as an aside here and in other cases Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders shows a depth and nuance of psychological insight that Delany’s earlier novels – that were interested in exploring archetypes than in describing real humans – did not possessEverything that happens in this novel is set in relation to cast in the light of Eric’s and Shit’s love and this is particularly important in regard to those elements that will appear revolting to most readers I have read several reviews whose authors advise readers to hang on through the first pornographic part of the novel in order to reap the rewards for their endurance in the form of emotional payoff during the second half and in particular the ending which it has to be said is indeed one of the most moving pieces of literature you are ever likely to read I do not think that is uite true though or rather it short changes what this amazing novel does which is to appropriate disgusting or otherwise uestionable acts and even the hate speech of racial slurs pulling them in and weaving them into the strands of a language of love and desire The acts and words are given a new meaning are transformed into expressions of deep affection when done or uttered in a context of profound loveThen it is a measure of the strength of that love just how heterogenous the elements it incorporates are and it takes a love that lasts over than seventy years to transmute disgust into desire hate into love And of course it takes a great writer to be able to pull this off which Delany has proven himself once again to be with this novel Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders asks the reader to share in this language of love but it does not put it as a demand it rather extends it as an invitation for among everything else this is a very gracious novel It might also very well turn out to be one of the greatest love novels of the 21st century What a tough book to read; I put this down many a time for something else as the minutely described sexual perversions of the main characters whose 70 year long relationship is the lodestone of this novel simply become overwhelming You really have to work at liking these guys And then when suddenly the years and decades begin to slip away for the characters you get a glimpse of the immensity of Delany's project what is a good life? How does one live it? How do you make a place for yourself in the world? And how do you convey the enormity the breadth of a single life lived in the course of a work of fiction let alone a couple and the entire community they are enmeshed in? By the end you have lived and breathed the lives of Shit and Eric so the inevitable ending packs an emotional force that leaves one reeling Is this Delany's magnum opus? I think so; I think it will stand the test of time to become as great a landmark as Dhalgren It is a perfect amalgamation of Delany's gay and SF sensibilities and yes this is an SF novel every bit as political as Triton but not as polemical and far humaneThis is Eric to Shit one of the many extraordinary declarations of love at 14553 59 of 20075 in the Kindle versionYou're too much of what I want and what I always wanted You look too much like I want a feller I live with to look like You act too much like that feller Your farts and your burps and your BO and your asshole when you ain't wiped yourself too good and hell your damned snot taste and smell too much like what I want it to taste and smell like So do your damned feet when you wear shoes long enough to work up a stink And you treat me too much like I want to be treated Your piss and your tonsils and your asshole all taste too much like his were supposed to taste like That's cause you are him You I mean That's allWhat an extraordinary and unforgettable novel Ah Is there anything better in a reading experience no emotional connection but cold respect for hard work on the author's part?I mean to say that just because something evidently took a lot of work doesn't make it a good book To some readers UnfortunatelyCertainly to fill an 800 pg tome with little other than sex scenes sexy to no one takes uh a very particular yet dubiously practical skillsetSpoilers from here on maybe I'm still typingMuch like Dhalgren this is one of Delany's efforts to give the reader the experience of being in a subculture In Dhalgren his characters live as if in a separate city one in which communications from the outside come seemingly at random and without information as if some second invisible city is overlaid over the same place its citizens living in a different world in the same place Now how cool an effect in a novel does that sound? Almost too interesting to be as tedious as Dhalgren is And that’s something that drove me to finish this book too in a weird way I was just in awe of how boring it was Got all the way to pg 500 without skimming You’ll never learn how impressive that is because hopefully you won’t read this bookHilariously I read this thing Garth Risk Hallberg wrote on Dhalgren where he was interested in what about it was boring him Come on mate And I don’t even think he worked it out Or at least worked out that boring people is a very very bad thing Given how interminable City on Fire wasSo in this book we see how two garbagemen miss out on the world at large As time propels them into the future they’re too busy fucking to notice who the president is to summarise So that’s basically all that happens“Hey did you read about that thing?”“Nope We were fucking”“Wow A sculpture by this century’s greatest—”“Sorry I was otherwise occupied while you learned what that is”“I think everyone remembers where their tongue was when that horrible future terrorist bombing happened”“I don’t though you can presume it was in my boyfriend’s unwashed asshole Would you like a description? So”Towards the end it’s hinted at that the subculture in which the central lovers existed is studied by classrooms and so on which leads to the occasional invite but other than that life for these two men basically consists of each other and their unchanging uotidian And since we read this story from their perspective given how much they know themselves and what they enjoy it is uestionable how much outside culture has to offer them or how often world events really affect them—apart from in one case where the incident was so large that it did An interesting antidote to contemporary FOMO cultureAnd Jesus “Morgan Haskell” is purportedly the name of the protagonist’s lover according to the back cover blurb—except he goes by “Shit” for the whole book As if the ridiculous sexual descriptions or fantasies or planned sexual escapades or commentaries on past sexual encounters that took up every page weren’t ridiculous enoughGiven Delany’s predilection in other books for techno awe and garrulous pontification on subjects in disciplines that he himself has invented for the sake of his books total genius when he wants to be I appreciate the difficulty of this task minimal outside notice ification and only descriptions through the dialogue of blue collar workers? Impressive but not the most interesting thing to read And I guess it is an easier sci fi task lending itself to a believable world since you don't reveal your hand by over inventing It might even be a metaphor for the writer’s life All we ever see of writers is when they emerge from their nests to try and formulate words about their words often failing And then they’re back to it Their unseen life is what life mostly is for them Is that enough? Well that’s the uestion of this book A compelling uestion Not 800 pgs compelling Hey but it could be infinitely compelling depending on the words on those pages In this case it’s only about 150 pgs compellingAnd considering that about 98% of this book is just sex or talking about it How did you make that dull? For one nothing in the book—neither its 98% nor its 2% was all that evocative There wasn’t often a sense of smell for example at least for anything I wanted to smell And scenes were set poorlyUgh and the seeming ambivalence towards paedophilia and incest? Future classrooms filled with naked children? A good friend of mine explained to me that there's such a thing as being too open minded For Delany as I picked up on in The Motion of Light in Water a great book his open mindedness stems from growing up as a homosexual in an era when it was still seen as a mental illness There was one largely good outcome of this on his writing he thinks about concepts from first principles almost as if there was no other thinking on a subject drawing his own conclusions based on his own experience and studies This is what contributes to his originality as a writer—but there are areas into which that thinking should not go I don’t know how to say this in a non condescending way but given how opinions on homosexuality have changed in Delany’s lifetime how would he know what’s acceptable and what isn’t? You may also in a hands off fashion say that it’s his job to project that thinking into those taboo areas and offer them for the reader to consider without necessarily condoning anything that his narratives portray I don’t uite agreeSo a man decides to work as a garbage man his whole life and he’s in an open relationship with another garbage man and that man's father all three of them engaging in sex at seemingly every opportunity and with everyone else who'll have them the poorer their personal hygiene the gratuitous their activities the better Detailed descriptions abound Is it possible that this might constitute the happiest life for those involved? Phew If I'm really stretching myself mentally Say for argument’s sake you sueeze a “Maybe” out of me on this point this book then expects me I think to draw the following conclusions Therefore we should judge everyone less about the way they live their lives What constitutes the best future may involve things that are utterly taboo today being commonplace just as perhaps homosexuality once was Therefore no one is normalWell this is exactly the irritating “Look into this child’s innocent eyes and tell him about the fiscal policy you’re about to exact upon his poor parents” style of political debate that’s so common nowadays Is this story an exception or not? If so does it prove the rule or break it? Inconclusive to the point of meaninglessnessI kept going because I read that the last 30 pages made people cry I didn’t feel connected to the central relationship in the book so no I was doing the same thing I did with Dhalgren which was finishing it just to make sure I didn’t like it There were some thoughts on old age towards the end Like a handful of choice aphorisms A payoff of sorts but not big enough to constitute a novel of this size I sat and talked to Juan afterwards with a little concentration than usual given this book’s reminder that yes it all comes to an end faster than you realise But short stories have given me the same reminders much faster And this could’ve been a novella for sure A compelling one read by many peopleThere are some comments in this book on Spinoza’s Ethics that it can’t be understood on a first read but you can’t uit and go back until you’re done I had to imagine Delany wrote that because he was referring to the book proper It’s possible but I doubt I’ll ever go back to this I seriously can’t imagine anyone other than myself ever getting through this firstly and certainly not a second time and never that they would enjoy either readAs a character says in this book the road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom—but first you have to venture through the valley of the nest of spiders Well we stayed in one of those three domains for the whole damn book Hint it’s the one it says on the cover I want to say better things about this novel because Delany is a hero of minebut 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 bookwhich 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 Mar 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 This is a book that takes porn serious even after it stops being pornThis is a book in which the main characters get everything they want living largely outside of electoral politics scientific developments it's a sci fi novel but most of the sci fi elements happen without the characters being directly affected by them and economics as their ways are basically paid for until they grow old most of them and die And the uestion is What sort of life can you forge in a post scarcity post want world? Especially a post scarcity world that is not a cornucopia that does not eternally provide you with but still offers you than enough? What sort of novel can you have when there are essentially no obstacles to overcome and no conflict to drive the reader from one page to the next?The answer seems to be at first an onslaught of hedonistic pleasures but while that lasts for a while perhaps uite a while it's the sustained respect that emerges from these pleasures even the ones involving bodily waste shame or pain and their accessibility that provides an answer It's really a novel about luxuriating in people and relationships not unlike how porn is about luxuriating in sexual pleasures and excitementsIt's an interesting experiment and one that feels like it's operating in a very different way from most novels; it's perhaps Delany's most successful pornographic novel although they all take up the challenge of taking pornography seriously in such different ways it's unfair to say At 804 pages this is easily the longest book I've ever read and it was sprawling titillating gloriously boring tediously explicit shocking and thoughtful and endearing A history of the love of one interracial gay couple their friends their families their sexual exploits which are likely to challenge the biases of most readers the book sprawls out to consider human nature our place in the universe what it means to live in the world and how memory shapes and twists and changes our present circumstances It's powerful stuff Reading it was truly an accumulated taste and experience the book covers something like sixty years in the protagonist's lives and it's astonishing how Delany's prose style changes pace as the characters age and their own perceptions of time and life change accordingly It's not for everyone but it's a worthwhile read for those who are up to clambering into this big messy lovable tome It will stay with me uite a while; of that I'm certain I didn't finish this one didn't make it much past 100 pages I get that this is an amazing work in various ways and I'm not put off by the sex at all; I also get that there is a payoff in later chapters I am not willing to work that hard for the payoff Maybe someday Initially disturbing eventually illuminating Though vastly different from Stars In My Pocket Like Grains of Sand TVNS is Delany's closest novel to the 1984 masterpiece It is also his best long work since then