Let No Stranger Wait Outside Your Door, by Lou Kief. What I thought would be a simple, straightforward personal memoir of a gay man coming to terms with his sexuality in 1960s America turned out to be so much more. Kief swept me away in the moments of social history: From leaving the violence and racial tensions of the Detroit riots and moving to the inclusive gay scene in San Francisco.
Kief was there for the many times and events that have set the foundation for American Gay Rights. He even explains how he was personally affected by the murder of friend and first openly gay politician Harvey Milk.
The depiction of the inclusive gay community of San Francisco seems such an age away. In his beautiful strokes of prose, the era is brought to the reader with a Technicolor panorama. I would even say there is an essence of Armistead Maupin and the most popular Tales of the City saga.
What moved me in this amazingly delicious tome were the friendships and relationships Kief made. Through this book I found myself bathing in the warmth of the relationships and sense of community. They became my friends, which is a credit to his writing style.
The AIDS epidemic all but wiped out this generation. At the end of the book, the author has given tribute to these friendships, honoring each person with a moving obituary. Every friend, relationship, and encounter that made an impact on Kief’s life has now made an impact on mine.
This book is part of social history. The writer is not a celebrity, he’s not a public personality; he is a normal gay man, who lived a normal gay life in an amazingly embracing place and time.
Let No Stranger Wait Outside Your Door, by Lou Kief. It is available in print, Kindle, and epub formats.
Lou Kief and his partner, Bill, lived in San Francisco for many years. Today they reside in Guadalajara, Mexico, and share a home with Katrina, a huge, not very lady-like, Neapolitan Mastiff, Mexi-cats; Diego, Frida & Trotsky, and Rocco, a pushy Amazon Parrot.