Reading DHALGREN I felt the need to branch out and read some of Delany’s criticism and his autobiographical works.
This is an endearing love story, well-told and an enjoyable read. Despite the sensational surface (famous black gay SF writer falls in love with unknown and dirty homeless man on New York streets) this graphic novel tells a typical love story.
The chance encounter of inhabitants of different worlds, the unexpected pairing of minds and bodies, the hesitations and enthusiasms, wariness and trust, the need to share, the mythic resonances and the banal homeliness. We can all identify with this, even if our circumstances are very different.
The title comes from the title of a poem by Holderlin, which is cited from the first page of the story and throughout the book. The poem tells us:
Bread is the fruit of the earth, yet it’s blessed also by light.
The pleasure of wine comes from the thundering god.
We remember the gods thereby, those who were once
With us, and who’ll return when the time is right.
The message seems to be, in both cases, that love lives by flashes of the union of earth and sky, of filth and cosmogenesis, flashes of the return of the gods in the pagan communion of “mismatched” lovers.