A FRAGILE UNION is Joan Nestle's collection of intimate essays and narratives about lesbian sexuality, butch-femme relationships, sex writing, the importance of preserving gay and lesbian history, the love that is possible between lesbians and gay men, and the "often-shaky camaraderie among lesbians that as community continues to flex its diversity."
Readers of A REDISTRICTED COUNTRY and other Nestle writings are familiar with the Nestles themes of unity and difference. In A Fragile Union, Nestle delves still deeper. Living with cancer, Nestle now explores other "fragile unions": the fragility of her sexual desire in the face of her illness, the fragility of memory in the face of enormous loss, and always in the face of fear, her hope, her love for her people - women, lesbians and gays, working class, Jews, and all who struggle against injustice.
A rich new collection by poet, historian, and lesbian activist Joan Nestle, ranging from meditations on her femme identity to arguments for a diversified college curriculum. Cofounder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives, which were housed for 20 years in her New York apartment, Nestle has made no clear division between her erotic and her political writings, a stance that has irritated many feminists. The archive itself is a ceaseless, passionate response to the first time that Nestle ever tried to "find out about" herself by writing a high school paper on homosexuality. She began her research at the New York Public Library, and in the card catalog "found the word Homosexual, followed by a dash and the words, see Deviancy, and next to this, see Pathology, with suggested subcategories of prisons and mental institutions." Her inclusive sensibilities have informed the acquisition policies of the archive, which has collected everything from pulp novels of the 1940s and 1950s to the diary of a lesbian prostitute to the pasties of a lesbian stripper. "If we ask decorous questions of history," Nestle argues, "we will get a genteel history." Essential reading in the social history of postwar America and the particular struggles of lesbians to be included in that history. --Regina Marler
We were tremendously honored to be asked by Joan Nestle to publish A FRAGILE UNION, which is her most exquisite writing to date. Working with Joan has been a gift.
From the Publisher