Desire Lines


Product Details

$21.00  $19.53
Querelle Press
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.25 X 0.64 inches | 0.78 pounds

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About the Author

Cary Alan Johnson is an author, activist, and Africanist raised in Brooklyn. A public health and HIV specialist, Cary is currently the country director for Population Services International in Burundi, Central Africa. Visit him online at


Advance Praise for Desire Lines

"A riveting, lyrical tale about a Black gay man's unflinching odyssey during a cultural upheaval."

Kirkus (starred review)

"... unflinchingly charts the journey of a gay Black man at a crucial moment when the allure of drugs and sex created dangerous possibilities."

John Rechy, author of City of Night

"A gripping, moving story of a vulnerable young gay Black man reaching for some dignity and integrity through the storm of familial homophobia and the dawn of AIDS. The author's enlightening self-awareness takes us through desire, mentorship, an escape to Africa and a return to a ravaged New York community where friendship with a Black woman becomes the difference between life and death. Riveting and very real."

Sarah Schulman, author of Let the Record Show: A Political History of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power New York

"Cary Alan Johnson's writing is intimate, elegant and unflinching. His novel is steamy with the dampness of desire, loss, betrayal, and disco dance floors. The narrator invites the reader to grow up with him in Brooklyn, in the Zairian bush, in the Central Park Rambles; places where he pushes himself and the bonds of friendship to near breaking."

Jewelle Gomez, author of The Gilda Stories

"Desire Lines is an unputdownable book about queerness, love, loss and the will to keep going--despite the world. Cary Johnson writes with such heart and power. An incredibly gifted storyteller."

De'Shawn Charles Winslow, author of In West Mills

"In Cary Johnson's fresh and engaging debut novel, a young, gay Black man navigates early adulthood in 1980s New York City against the background of the AIDS epidemic. It's a journey that takes him from Brooklyn to Zaire and back again as he cycles through a series of identities-the good boy, the party boy, the Peace Corp volunteer, the graduate student, the crack addict-before he finally begins to arrive at his truest self. The best fiction not only tracks the transformation of its characters. It transforms readers, too, leaving them with a deeper and more sympathetic understanding of what it is to be human, to be alive. Desire Lines did that for me and I think it will for you, too."

Michael Nava, author of Lies With Man