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City of Night
Synopses & Reviews
When John Rechy's explosive first novel — now a classic — appeared in 1963, it became a national best-seller 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 search for self-knowledge within the neon-lit world of hustlers, drag queens, and men on every kind of make. As the narrator moves from El Paso to Times Square, from Pershing Square to the French Quarter, we get an unforgettable look at life on the edge.
"One of the major books to be published since World War II." The Washington Post
"City of Night is a remarkable book.... Mr. Rechy writes in an authentic jive-like slang: the nightmare existence is explored with a clarity not often clouded by sentimentality and self-pity. The book therefore has the unmistakable ring of candor and truth." The New York Times Book Review
"Probably no first novel is so complete, so well held together, and so important as City of Night." The Houston Post
"[City of Night] illuminates, it stirs the heart, it is unforgettable." Herbert Gold
"This the the worst confection yet devised by the masterminds behind the Grove epater-la-post-office Machine. So fabricated is it that, despite the adorable photograph on the rear of the dust jacket, I can hardly believe there is a real John Rechy — and if there is, he would probably be the first to agree that there isn't — for City of Night reads like the unTrue Confessions of a Male Whore as told to Jean Genet, Djuna Barnes, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, Thomas Wolfe, Fanny Hurst and Dr. Franzblau. It is pastiche from the word go." Alfred Chester, New York Review of Books
"[Rechy's] tone rings absolutely true, is absolutely his own, and he has the kind of discipline which allows him a rare and beautiful recklessness....He tells the truth, and tells it with such passion that we are forced to share in the life he conveys. It is the most humbling and liberating experience." James Baldwin
"City of Night is one of the most remarkable novels to appear in years...It illuminates, it stirs the heart, it is unforgettable." Herbert Gold
"Probably no novel published in this decade is so complete, so well held together, and so important as City of Night." Larry McMurtry
"John Rechy shows great comic and tragic talent. He is a truly gifted novelist." Christopher Isherwood
John Rechy, recipient of the Publishing Triangles William Whitehead Lifetime Achievement Award, wrote City of Night in 1963. This radical and daring work, which launched Rechys reputation as one of Americas most courageous novelists, remains the classic document of the garish neon-lit world of hustlers, drag queens, and men on the make who inhabited the homosexual underground of the early sixties.
About the Author
John Rechy is the recipient of the PEN-USA West's Lifetime Achievement Award (he was the first novelist to be awarded the prize) and the Publishing Triangle's William Whitehead Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the author of eleven other novels, among them Numbers, Rushes, The Sexual Outlaw (all from Grove Press), The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gomez, and Our Lady of Babylon. His most recent novel, The Coming of the Night, was published by Grove Press in 1999. An NEA recipient, he is also the author of several plays, essays, and short stories. John Rechy lives in Los Angeles.
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