Main | Friday, October 25, 2013

City Of Night Turns 50

John Rechy's landmark novel, City Of Night, was published 50 years ago this week.  From the Los Angeles Times:
The book is a landmark not only of gay literature -- it tells the story of a street hustler as he moves through the shadow world of the 1950s -- but also of American literature. “City of Night” was not the first overtly gay-themed book (Radclyffe Hall’s “The Well of Loneliness” appeared in 1928, and in 1956, Allen Ginsberg published his long poem “Howl,” followed, three years later, by William S. Burroughs with “Naked Lunch”) but it may be the most unapologetic, a searing screed of life on the edge. “Later I would think of America as one vast City of Night,” Rechy writes in the novel’s opening sentence, “stretching gaudily from Times Square to Hollywood Boulevard -- jukebox-winking, rock-n-roll-moaning: America at night fusing its darkcities into the unmistakable shape of loneliness.”
Years ago I mentioned here that City Of Night remains my favorite novel of all time. Since I first read it decades ago in college, I've gifted it to friends dozens of times. (I still hate the ending.) You might also enjoy Rechy's Numbers and The Sexual Outlaw.

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