City of Night

John Rechy

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City of Night

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

  • Title: City of Night
  • Author: John Rechy
  • ISBN: 9780802130839
  • Page: 154
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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.

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      Published :2018-06-13T02:46:37+00:00

    One thought on “City of Night

    1. Joe on said:

      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 K [...]

    2. Richard on said:

      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 [...]

    3. Matthew on said:

      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.

    4. Raymond on said:

      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 Kat [...]

    5. Kerry on said:

      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 s [...]

    6. Matthew Gallaway on said:

      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 [...]

    7. Judy on said:

      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, [...]

    8. Isaac on said:

      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 dr [...]

    9. Chris on said:

      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 [...]

    10. Andy on said:

      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.

    11. K.M. Soehnlein on said:

      A book that feels both of its time and very much ahead of its time.

    12. David Gallagher on said:

      I wanted to like this book more - 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 [...]

    13. Matthew Marcus on said:

      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 [...]

    14. Skip on said:

      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 [...]

    15. I. Merey on said:

      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.

    16. Carlos Mock on said:

      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 sentim [...]

    17. Rachel Pollock on said:

      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 [...]

    18. Allan on said:

      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, [...]

    19. Bill Wallace on said:

      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 int [...]

    20. Scott on said:

      Actually more like a 3.5 stars. (The droning psychobabble during the last fifth of the book really started to get on my nerves.)

    21. Martin on said:

      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 [...]

    22. Nicole (Reading Books With Coffee) on said:

      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 wh [...]

    23. Simon Hollway on said:

      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 [...]

    24. George Huxley on said:

      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 [...]

    25. Amanda Brown on said:

      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 more 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.

    26. Matt on said:

      This books is a fantastic look in to gay life in the pre-stonewall era. really groundbreaking stuff.

    27. Bryn on said:

      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.

    28. *heartrl* on said:

      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 S&Ms and the degenerates of the late 50's American underbelly. Th [...]

    29. Fani *loves angst* on said:

      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 [...]

    30. Ioana on said:

      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 yo [...]

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