When John Rechy s explosive first novel, City of Night, was first published in 1963, it 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 his restless search for self knowledge As the narrator careWhen John Rechy s explosive first novel, City of Night, was first published in 1963, it 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 his restless search for self knowledge 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.
City of Night When John Rechy s explosive first novel City of Night was first published in it became a national bestseller and ushered in a new era of gay fiction Bold and inventive in his account of the ur
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, there are also moments punctuated here where drag queens just bring it ON Colorful personalities bloom everywhere around him This book is made of awesome and the prose is nothing less than gorgeous A lot of this reminded me of Jack Kerouac [...]
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 In 1963 I was a 17 years old and a totally alienated wanna be hipster beatnik reaching out for anything dark and maybe beautiful I saw the American dream as a klieg [...]
Amazingly overdone It s one of those books that I read really, really slowly just because I didn t want it to be over Emotionally I think it touched on a lot of stuff I related to and haven t read about before , to the point where I was willing happy, even to overlook things like the description of a hot dog cart as a relic from Hell.
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 man, 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 Kathy why s [...]
I gave it four stars so you know I enjoyed it 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 Now, let s talk GRAMMAR 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 see how some of us f [...]
This book should be required reading for anyone interested in 1950s 60s underground culture for lack of a better term, or sort of the opposite of straight, white, heteronormative Mad Men The book is about a mostly gay hustler who drifts through the major U.S cities and in the process manages to dissect quite a few stereotypes that are still very pervasive on the gender sexuality front and also manages to invent a new language to describe what feels like a new world Lonely, punishing, and transce [...]
Oh the places I go in My Big Fat Reading Project At 7 on the 1963 bestseller list, this novel was a ground breaker in gay fiction I had never heard of it but my cohort in the Literary Snobs reading group knew all about it In some ways it was unlike anything I have ever read while in other ways it felt familiar compared to some of the Beat fiction I have read.Largely autobiographical, the story follows a young man through his peripatetic nightlife as a hustler in the dark streets of El Paso, Time [...]
I read this because David Bowie cited it as one of his favorite books in an interview, and Bowie s got some good taste did you know Wham, bam, thank you mam is a reference to a Charles Mingus song This book is basically a queer take on On the Road , featuring Rechy going around the big country hustling himself and writing about it in detail He s incredibly laid back and observational about the whole thing, whether he s trying to milk money off a rich client in Los Angeles or watching a drag quee [...]
What a massive, sprawling, and exhausting in the best possible way novel This is one of those which will pick you up, spin you around, chew you up and spit you back out.I m unsure how in my collection of gay literature canon I somehow glossed over this novel until now I m glad that in this year s endeavor to re read my mothers of gay literature a friend made me pick it up City of Night follows an unnamed hustler as he bounces through the queer underworlds of America s so called cities of night N [...]
Before there was Midnight Cowboy this classic came along about male prostitution that never sinks into sleaze Forty five years ago John Rechy wrote about homosexuality with a compassion that America didn t have for gays City of Night runs for almost 400 pages but you ll never get bored because it s so well written.
A book that feels both of its time and very much ahead of its time.
I wanted to like this book I really did Having been born post the AIDS HIV discovery era, I was always fascinated by the kind of lifestyle previous to that, and at the same time, felt repulsed by it to a certain degree The first chapters of this book are remarkable Simply magnificent The memories of childhood the narrator describes are so evocative and realistic it s unbelievable Many quotes to remember and many things to delve into and take from The language is the kind of language I always lo [...]
Bits of this book are certainly 4 star, a few chapters may even merit 5, but the overall journey through the nocturnal world of 1960s America s gay hustling scene, over almost 400 pages of small print, was just a little too arduous for my liking The largely passive narrator acts as a device for hearing out the stories of various characters from this furtive sexual underworld, a few of which are incredibly poignant but there are longueurs too across the many months and miles, and any resolution o [...]
WhewThis was quite a read It was a little hard to get into, but by at least midway, I was sucked into all the dive bars with drag queens, hustlers, scores , pushers, and the whole underworld of people posing as something else It s a tale immense loneliness, and you want this guy to find his way out, and find himself, and maybe some happiness But some people many people just never do Also, a great period piece If this was written in the early 1960s, and became a best seller, it must have really b [...]
I actually finished this book months ago, but I never rated it because I wanted to write a comprehensive review and now it was so long ago that all i can say 1 It was amazing.
City of Night by John Rechy Just the absence of loneliness That s love enough In fact, that can be the strongest kind of love JeremyIn City of Night we re thrown in the midst of the life of a male hustler who works NYC s Time Square, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and New Orleans In the process we meet other hustlers and lots of Johns Rechy describes this world with brusque frankness There is an easy understanding of who and what his characters are they are presented without sentimentality [...]
I read this book because it was recommended posthumously, in a long ago interview by David Bowie I have such complicated feelings about it, but i ultimately rated it four stars because even though it depressed the shit out of me by the time i finally made it to the end, i also found so much of it to be familiar in terms of the speech and behavior of the people in it It s a thinly veiled roman a clef about the author s life as a rough trade hustler in the gay scenes of several major US cities in [...]
I picked up the 50th anniversary copy of this novel in The Strand in NYC based on its blurb, it somehow having passed under my radar in the past Telling the story of a male hustler in pre Stonewall USA, the book was a Bestseller on release, despite coming in for criticism from many reviewers at the time As the main character moves from El Paso to NYC, before taking in cities like LA, Dallas, Chicago and SF, we read stories about the dive bars , scores , queens and hustlers he encounters, some of [...]
At its best when it is nightmarish, John Rechy s classic account of hustling in the occluded world of homosexuality in mid century America makes a compelling case that sexual identity is a spectrum rather than points on a plane There are also at least two books here one an almost journalistic account of life in the bars and on the streets and another, much less satisfying overlay of drama and unconvincing introspection Rechy s prose works well when it s sparse but all too often it veers into the [...]
Actually like a 3.5 stars The droning psychobabble during the last fifth of the book really started to get on my nerves.
It took me six weeks to get through this, which is quite a while for me I thought it would be a quick read, like a pulp novel, but it is actually quite dense and took me longer to read a page than I normally do I had to force myself to get through it That said, it is a great novel which I think mostly holds up over the fifty years since it was written Occasionally the narrator s writing felt a bit overcooked, but I loved the dialogue for the same reason I didn t like the description To each his [...]
This was a really hard book to get through, and I really struggled with it I can see why it was such an important book when it was published, considering what the book is about But I had a hard time with it, and it felt really dry I know it s loosely autobiographical, and it really read that way It s not a bad thing, but it just didn t work for me It is a glimpse into what life was like during that time, but it seemed to drag on It also seemed really repetitive, and I m sort of doubting why I to [...]
Set before my time but I was blown away by the language, the ghetto pattois, the polari, call it what you will That cool, hip and wantonly slick and sleek flow of words, I had never encountered before What a loss Much of the vernacular did fill in some missing blanks and made me understand many terms still floating about on the modern scene Wow Such beautiful, evocative dialogue Never fear though That slacker mentality is thankfully back in its mischievously muted manner It gave me the feels bei [...]
What a profound book Well written beyond a doubt, there were some truly beautiful parts in this book the interlude in Chicago, the White Sheets chapter, Miss Destiny, etc etc At some points it can almost be read like poetry The wording that Rechy uses is simply striking, it causes you to stop, it makes you read it a couple of times and really ponder what is on the page in front of you Magnificent, but goddam, that grammar and punctuation killed me Aside from that pretty good, pretty good I can u [...]
Ehhhh, it definitely wasn t bad but I think it was too long for what you get out of the story In my opinion, this book would have been way enjoyable had it been half the length Despite my feelings, there were some glimmering moments found, particularly in all the different people the narrator encounters The real star, however, was the narrator s childhood dog and how it became a primary metaphor that took shape in a lot of different ways.
This books is a fantastic look in to gay life in the pre stonewall era really groundbreaking stuff.
Did you know that Rechy cites his punctual capitalization style as influenced by A, A Milne and Winnie the Pooh Put that in your hustler crackpipe and smoke it.
Why did it take me so long to read this book I mean, I know why it took me so long while I was ACTUALLY reading the book but why I didn t pick it up sooner I ll never know I really took my time with this one The vignettes are so deep and each personal story expands the universe of the hustler narrator who s voice we rarely hear until the amazing bedside confessional at the end I adored the catty gender queers, the stuffy SMs and the degenerates of the late 50 s American underbelly This is a fant [...]
The only immorality is morality which has restricted us, shoved into the dark the most beautiful things that should glow in the light, not be stifled by dark words, darklights, darkwhispers Why is what I do Immoral, when it hurts no one no one an expression of Love Can I accuse him for the emptiness he left in my heart No It was his nature the very nature which made me love him his nature, to occupy my heart forever and my life only fleetingly He had wings he had to fly away Memories of his prid [...]
The key of the book is found in the penultimate chapter There, the Universe responds to the questions our author poses or at the very minimum, it sends a score for the purpose It s love vs rebellion, it s the power game and how men play it, it s who we are, what society makes of us and how we face it The effort is bigger because society rejects ed the type of connection the author and his subjects seek gay love But the question put is universally valid do you allow a connection, do you allow you [...]