“[Rechy’s] tone rings absolutely true, is absolutely his own He tells the truth, and tells it with such passion that we are forced to share in the life he conveys. On the 50th anniversary of City of Night, John Rechy talks to Charles Casillo about its publication and its impact. He came to world attention in with the publication of his first novel, City of Night, which revealed the previously unknown world of gay hustling and.
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When John Rechy’s explosive first novel, City of Nightwas first published init became a national bestseller and ushered in a new era of gay fiction. Bold and inventive in his account of the urban underworld of male prostitution, Rechy is equally unflinching in his portrayal of one hustling “Youngman” and jjohn restless search for self-knowledge.
As johnn narrator care When Nohn Rechy’s explosive first novel, City of Nightwas first published init became a national bestseller and ushered in a new era of gay fiction. As the narrator careens from El Paso to Times Square, from Pershing Square to the French Quarter, we get an unforgettable look at a neon-lit life on the edge. Said James Baldwin of the author, “Rechy is the most arresting young writer I’ve read in a very long time.
His tone rings absolutely true, is absolutely his own; and he has the kind of discipline which allows him a rare and beautiful reckless. Paperbackpages.
Published January 13th by Grove Press first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about City of Nightplease sign up.
Fifty Years of Rechy’s “City of Night” – Los Angeles Review of Books
Lists with This Book. Jul 20, Joe rated it it was amazing. Truly gripping and evocative. The ending was so incredibly touching. The book is filled with moments that perfectly capture the alienated gay culture of the 60s in an at times shocking way. In addition to the sullen and often mellow persona of John’s personality, joun are also xity punctuated here where drag queens just bring it ON.
Colorful personalities jjohn everywhere around him. This book is made of awesome bight the prose is nothing less than gorgeous. A lot of this reminded me of Jack K Truly nighh and evocative. A lot of this reminded me of Jack Kerouac, if he was more refined and could concentrate better. This is more streamlined than Kerouac’s work, and though both shared a love for the scope of the American road and cityscapes, this is a memorable book for being one of the first to openly depict the often over or underlooked gay scene that was so consistently marginalized.
So when the gushing honesty of its characters overflows onto the page, do not be surprised to find yourself in awe of what this book actually accomplishes. I just saw in the NYTimes that Grove is putting out the 50th anniversary edition – my heart stopped for just a second, and even as I’m writing this my stomach has that forbidden fruit feeling of something thrilling and frightening this way coming.
It’s the same feeling I got well into my adult years when driving into NYC – an-tici-pation. I saw the American dream as I just saw in the NYTimes that Grove is putting out the 50th anniversary edition – my heart stopped for just a second, and even as I’m writing this my stomach has that forbidden fruit feeling of something thrilling and frightening this way hohn. I saw the American dream as a klieg-lit freak show, and wanted nothing more than the shadows.
City of Night
City of Night was a primer, and a baby step into the world I was actually going to find myself in a few years later.
I don’t know how this book holds up, but it gets its five stars for the impact it had on me way back then. I’m johb to see it’s still available, and amazed that its reissue has caused me such a visceral reaction on this fog-bound, living-room comfortable, cozy and warm Thanksgiving morning. Aug 09, Matthew rated it it was amazing Shelves: It’s one of those books that I read really, really slowly just because I didn’t want it to be fity.
Emotionally I think it touched on nihgt lot of stuff I related to and haven’t read about beforeto the point where I dity willing–happy, nihht overlook things like the description of a hot dog cart as a relic from Hell.
This novel stunned readers when it first appeared: It can be read as “gay lit,” of course, or simply as Americana, hot and heavy. I think it succeeds on both counts. Feb 01, Raymond rated it it was amazing Shelves: City of Night, as I remember it, is a powerful, dead on depiction of the gay underworld of the late 50’s, early sixties.
For a young gay pf, and occasional trick turner, it was a book that spoke to my experience in a world that did not want me to be. There is a particular scene in the book that stays with me still. During a Mardi Gras celebration, the protagonist we never know his name leaps on to a float carrying a beautiful young drag queen Kathy, and her hustler lover Jocko and asks Kat City of Night, as I remember it, is a powerful, dead on depiction of recyy gay underworld of the late 50’s, early sixties.
During a Mardi Gras celebration, the protagonist we never know his name leaps on to a float carrying a beautiful young drag queen Kathy, and her hustler lover Jocko and asks Kathy why she is smiling.
I’ve never forgotten that particular moment in the book. The whole of the book is encapsuled in that book- the tawdry glitter, the desperation under the affirmation of self. I once met Mr. Rechy at gay fund raiser and tried to speak to him about the why of the story and the why of that particular scene. He was taciturn, almost rude. Later I decided it was that I was too gushing in my praise and it made him uneasy. Maybe he was just tired of explaining it to idiots.
I was so young, then. One thing I did learn from the book and from my own experiences is that tricks and Johns need each other and yet are so often contemptuous of each other. This is a perfect book for those who have known only After Stonewall. It is a history of the shadows gay people had to wrap around themselves.
I know that my words here are not a review, proper. I don’t have the background to comment on pure literary merit. It is, however, what it is.
Oct 27, Kerry rated it really liked it. I gave it four stars But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a song and dance to tell you about it now.
Let’s commence shaking tailfeathers on this, but only one apiece. I don’t want any injuries. It’s a freaking important part of our language. It can change entire meanings of phrases and sentences. But there are those that like to give you that “I’m an artist and it’s how I form my craft” line.
When really it’s turd. And you do NOT want to I gave it four stars And you do NOT want to see how some of us form that art.
What I meant to say was that Senor Rechy walks the fine line of those that can pull this off and those straight blow it. I understand the stream of conscience writing style, I mean I’m from Kerouac’s hometown for godsakes! But don’t pussyfoot around it! You can’t just whimsically use commas and apostrophes one second and throw them to the wind the next. Gotta pick a side of the fence homey. That being said, one very important note I’d like to bring attention to in this is that it is the first book I’ve ever read with the phrase “sunbleached nightt hair” in nihht I know you’re shocked that I haven’t dug that one up nighh Pick up those dropped jaws kids.
Which is maybe why I give Mr. OR, perhaps because I really enjoyed his language and prose throughout it. I may never have been a transient male prostitute in my life yetbut something rings true and warm in my soul with such quotes as: I honestly just may have it tattooed nibht me.
His life may not be your cup of tea, but Rechh guarantee that everyone finds a way to relate to cjty life lessons he learns.
To the protagonist, the end of youth is a kind of death. And he spends his life running from that death. Held jobs, but the street lured him back every time. Sure he could work a 9 to Except usually we just go to Vegas and get a lil buckwild and a lil over it. It’s never so easy for everyone. But everyone wants a taste of that sinister life.
It’s their draw to Mardi Gras and Vegas. They just want a taste of the city of night but not to reside there. However, some people are just drawn to it like some are drawn to be artists or engineers. It’s a trade those who aren’t a part of og understand.