Honey Mine unfolds as both excavation and romp, an adventure story that ushers readers into a lesbian writer’s coming of age through disorienting, unsparing, and exhilarating encounters with sex, gender, and distinctly American realities of race and class. From childhood in Chicago’s South Side to youth in the lesbian underground, Roy’s politics find joyful and transgressive expression in the liberatory potential of subculture. In these new, uncollected, and out-of-print fictions by a master of New Narrative, find a record of survival and thriving under conditions of danger.
Read an interview with Camille Roy and the editors of Honey Mine, Eric Sneathen and Lauren Levin, on the Nightboat blog here!
Reading Honey Mine, I am constantly crashing through meaning and emerging on the other side—as the author-specter Camille Roy is my witness.
This inventive and substantial collection from poet and performance artist Roy (Sherwood Forest) demonstrates the author’s sharp wit and laser-eyed analysis of gender and class issues, punctuated by perspective on the realities of being a lesbian in the U.S. …Fans of experimental fiction should take note.
Camille Roy’s rich literary collection Honey Mine features outcasts and shows what it’s like to live as one.
Honey Mine is an archive of feeling and experience; despite Roy’s assertion that she’s never written a coming-out story, Honey Mine offers its readers a sweet entanglement of story, essay, and poetry that traces Camille’s collision with and discovery of the worlds around her — from the Southside of Chicago to a Rocky Mountain mining town where Mina Loy is in residence, to a massage parlor in Michigan, then to San Francisco.
The crystalline, perfectly-tuned prose and charming characters of Honey Mine are more than enough, I think, to leave any reader happy; but for those with any relationship to lesbianism, past or present, this book is a new sacred text.
This is a collection of writings by a woman as legendary and as unpublished in her circles as Herbert Huncke, Laurie Weeks and other apparitional queer voices. Part of the New Narrative San Francisco tradition, influenced by Robert Gluck, Dodie Bellamy, Kevin Killian and NY School traditions (Frank O’Hara and Eileen Myles) – Camille Roy’s fine new collection recreates the elusive ‘I’ of pre-gentrification lesbian life in which a romantic somewhat innocent young woman becomes cast as transgressive just because of homophobia. Ahh, so transparent when looking back. And this now strange social rejection opens the door to a wonderful life. From sex work to computer industry stock shares, negotiating the sexual life of lesbian utopia San Francisco with all its options.
-Sarah Schulman, Five Star Goodreads Review
While Honey Mine as a collection is a kind of “historical document,” it is more than that as well, charged and burning with its own undiminished radical power. Rather than collapsing in its contradictions, its disjunctions, it weaves its many desires—for silence and language and accuracy and thrill—into a kind of multi-dimensional honesty instead.
One of the central figures of New Narrative – a form of narrative writing pioneered in the Bay Area which combines autobiography, fiction, literary theory, and a variety of experimental interventions to explore subjectivity – Camille Roy is a San Francisco-based writer of prose poetry, plays, and cross-genre works.
Through her grief, Roy expresses a need for resignation from the discourse du jour.
The title Honey Mine is an endearment—my beloved—and a fanciful place of extraction, the site where sweetness is dug from a dark crevice. Roy hands us chunks of honeycomb to cram into our mouths and let drip from our chins. Don’t you want to come along?
Click here to listen to Michelle Tea and Camille Roy chat about Honey Mine on the SKYLIT Podcast!