Death has always been on Andrew Holleran’s mind. It loomed over the shame and hedonism of “Dancer From the Dance,” his 1978 debut novel and one of the most famous works of gay literature, and has pervaded his books since: a small body of work traces the arc of life.
At 77, and releasing his first novel in over 15 years, Holleran feels as though he has reached “the end of the arc,” he said in a recent interview.
So it’s appropriate that in “The Kingdom of Sand” — out Tuesday from Farrar, Straus & Giroux — death is the subject. “But isn’t everyone obsessed with death?” Holleran, whose real name is Eric Garber, asked during a video call from his home near Gainesville, Fla. “We all think about the transitory nature of life.” “The Kingdom of Sand” follows a natural thematic progression for him.
After “Dancer” came the ambivalent adulthood of “Nights in Aruba” (1983), the AIDS crisis loneliness of “The Beauty of Men” (1996) and the parental loss of “Grief” (2006).