Zami (subtitled a new spelling of my name) is the memoir of the poet Audre Lorde. It is a moving account of growing up black and lesbian in New York in the 1930s and the lesbian culture in the city in the 1950s.
Lorde's childhood best friend committed suicide, one of her lovers stole all her money when left her and another lover suffered from schizophrenia. Her relationships with her parents weren't exactly easy either. So her life has been punctuated by difficult relationships. She's also had a wide variety of difficult jobs including working in a number of factories.
Zami is full of fascinating details from working conditions in factories to dress codes in lesbian clubs. It also contains some beautifully written, lyrical descriptions of sex. I'm currently also reading The Mammoth Book of Lesbian Er0tica (which I won as part of the LGBT Reading Challenge) and so far there hasn't been any writing in there that even gets close to Lorde's writing about sex.
Zami, a new spelling of my name by Audre Lorde published by Sheba Feminist Publishers
Jackie Kay (whose books I've reviewed here, here and here) has a short piece in the Guardian newspaper about why Audre Lorde is her hero.