In Desire Lines, a Black teenager growing up gay in Brooklyn is captivated by a vision of life on the other side of the river, where the sparkle and glitter of Manhattan beckon. Coming into adulthood, he finds himself living in a five-floor walk-up in Hell’s Kitchen just as the AIDS epidemic is hitting the city.
We follow him and his group of friends as they experience the first wave of illness and death, and then accompany him on a two-year journey to Zaire, Central Africa, where he must confront corruption and homophobia in new and unexpected ways. Back in New York, he and his best friend-a biracial straight woman-try to find their place in a rapidly changing and increasingly perilous city that threatens to destroy first their friendship, and then the narrator himself.
At once graphic, intimate, and harrowing, Desire Lines is a roller coaster journey through gay New York in the 1980s–the sex, the drugs, and the trauma of AIDS–a moment marked equally by dramatic devastation and the fierce determination to survive.