Arriving in New York City full of idealism, Paul discovers the queer community gathering strength in the face of government inaction and social stigma. As he protests, parties, and makes a new home, he finds himself pulling away from his HIV-negative boyfriend to pursue an intense bond with a passionate, HIV-positive artist. Paul’s awakening parallels ACT UP’s rise, successes, and controversies. And then everything shifts again, as his family is thrust into their own life-and-death struggle that tests him even further.
Born out of the author’s activism inside the vibrant queer community of the’80s and’90s, Army of Lovers blends history and fiction into an exploration of memory, community, love, and justice.
Will be available in eBook and paperback formats.
“Soehnlein delivers a sprawling portrait of our darkest days, capturing all the anger and heartbreak and heroic love that forged who we are today. If you want to know how it felt, read this.” —Armistead Maupin
“Just when a moment in history is about to be forgotten, an author comes along to capture its passions and struggles and hope. Soehnlein has performed that magic for readers here. Army of Lovers will become essential reading for years to come. Read it now; be moved, enraptured, emboldened, and reminded of what it was like to be young at a turning point in history.” —Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Less Is Lost
“Army of Lovers comes at a crucial time, when the most devastating years of the AIDS era are sometimes remembered only for their despair and not for the love through action that brought so many changes. An evocative and beautiful book that reminds us of the deepest power of witness—it can sometimes take years for its clarity to shine through, but it can also help us find our lost once again through the precious telling of their stories.” —Manuel Muñoz, author of The Consequences
“In this vivid novel set in 1980s New York, the stakes could not be higher. While facing down monoliths like the FDA and the Catholic Church, Paul must navigate the ordinary desires, anxieties, and heartbreaks of youth. Drawn from the author’s lived experiences and rich with yearning and tenderness, Army of Lovers is a must-read for anyone searching for agency in an indifferent world. The story of ACT UP remains strikingly relevant today, and K.M. Soehnlein is just the writer to tell it.” —Alia Volz, Author of Home Baked: My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco
“Army of Lovers is astonishing, devastating, a small time machine made of words, a survivor’s novel, a queer coming-of-age story—collective by necessity and also deeply particular—one perfect tear-stained facet of the kaleidoscopic scene that was ACT UP/Queer Nation in early ’90s New York. I was there, I knew these people, and I wanted it never to end” —Andrea Lawlor, author of Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl
K.M. SOEHNLEIN (he/him) is the author of three novels, including his Lambda Literary Award-winning debut, The World of Normal Boys. He is the recipient of the Henfield Prize in short fiction and a Rainin Filmmaking Grant for screenwriting. His journalism has appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, Out Magazine, The Village Voice, and San Francisco Magazine, and his personal essays have appeared in numerous literary collections. Karl received an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and currently teaches at the University of San Francisco MFA in Writing Program. He previously served on the Board of Trustees of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. He lives in San Francisco with his husband.