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The Coming of the Night (Rechy, John) Paperback – October 30, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Rechy, John
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Reprint edition (October 30, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802137423
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802137425
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #452,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a return to some of the themes of his first novel, the gay classic City of Night (1963), Rechy follows an ensemble cast of mainly gay characters over the course of one day in 1981 Los Angeles, just before the AIDS crisis hits. As the Santa Ana winds, said to provoke violence and desire, blow fire toward the city, the characters are introduced in short, interlaced sections. Beautiful Jesse, celebrating a year on the gay scene, plans to abandon himself to unlimited desire; Clint has fled troubling experiences in New York, where the first rumors of AIDS are surfacing; Dave, into leather and s&m, is looking for new and dangerous pleasures; Father Norris, a troubled priest, searches gay haunts for a young hustler named Angel, who supposedly has a tattoo of a naked Jesus on his back. Meanwhile, a trio of armed thugs is intent on gay bashing, and everyone moves inevitably toward a West Hollywood park, and tragedy. The gay characters are obsessed with sex, hustling, body building and cruising; sex scenes are plentiful, graphic in the extreme and certainly not for the squeamish. At the same time, Rechy doesn't skimp on plot, character or action, and the ingenious ending takes an unanticipated but thoroughly logical turn. In its gritty evocation of time and place, the novel goes beyond its narrow subject matter, reaching for a broader and deeper understanding of an era. (Aug.) FYI: Rechy recently received the William Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 10th annual Publishing Triangle Awards for gay literature.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Rechy's landmark 1963 novel, City of Night, broke new ground through its open portrayal of a sexually active homosexual underworld. His newest novel continues to document that life. Set in Los Angeles in 1981, The Coming of the Night follows a cast of colorful characters as they confront the dangers of being gay and passionate. Police harassment, gay-bashing, and public scorn and humiliation are ever-present dangers. And AIDS looms on the horizon, blowing into the lives of Rechy's characters like the Santa Ana winds that also figure into the narrative. Throughout, Rechy creates a stark, stinging, and anxious atmosphere in which desire makes people do awful things and lust commingles with promiscuity, obsession, self-hatred, depression, and narcissism. It's pretty raw stuff but a good read. Recommended for public and academic libraries.
-ARoger Durbin, Univ. of Akron
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

John Rechy has written a superb novel full of memorable characters.
Ozbriefs
My only criticism is that it is a bit too graphic, but then again, so were the early 80's.
tttooommm
This is one of the better books that I have picked up in quite some time.
gary jones

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I'm surprised, and really delighted, that a novel about gay characters and gay subjects can still make it to the top of the bestseller lists--it's been a Los Angeles Times Bestseller for several weeks. But when I read it, I wasn't surprised. It's a novel that goes far beyond its subject, becomes a stunning picture of an era--the 1980's. I don't know of any other book that has captured more exactly what was happening on the "sex front" right before "the coming of the night." That the book can be so serious and yet so humorous in places is surprising. When I read one of the characters asking another after sex, "Would you die for sex," I felt very moved and illuminated, and somewhat terrified. But it has places of great humor. The drag-queen Za-Za LaGrande had me roaring aloud. Its difficult to describe a novel that is as rich as this one, and so beautifully written, with a cast of characters that includes almost every one you'd find on the gay scene, in one day--a bodybuilder, an older man who loves opera, an S&M-er, a group of punks with their tough girl, a black guy, a hustler, etc. One day--that's how long the book takes. That one day, though, becomes an epic, and I'm sure that's why so many readers, gay and straight, are picking it up. This is Rechy's best since "City of Night."
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Ever since I read "City of Night" in highschool a dozen years ago, I've been waiting for Rechy to write another book like his first classic novel. "The Coming of the Night" was worth the wait. I read it through in one sitting. It's a stunner. I won't ever forget the characters Rechy follows for one day and night, when whispers about AIDS were beginning but not believed. Rechy brings that very sexual time to life, and the book is very, very sexy. Rechy leads you with compassion to understand what was going on, how AIDS struck gay people with as much indifference as the heated wind blowing across the city. The book is beautifully written, and very pertinent to today. At times, it's surprisingly hilarious. I laughed aloud at the drag-queen rehearsing her porn stars for a private performance before a closeted movie executive. The book races back and forth from character to character, all different, all alive. I especially like Jesse, the beautiful 22-year-old kid celebrating a year of being gay; the picture Rechy draws of him is very accurate, very moving. The ending almost knocked me out. I sat there, stunned, absorbing it all. Frankly, this may be Rechy's best novel, as good as "City of Night."
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
No one can match Rechy in taking us along on a journey of discovery, and this new novel sweeps us into the lives of about a dozen or so men and a few women throughout one single hot day in Los Angeles. Rechy captures the eerie sexual mood of the city when the Santa Ana winds are blowing, and distant fires are blazing, just as he captures the lives of his characters, focusing on the moment they wake or appear in the City. They all come to life, Jesse "the kid" and Chas the strange biker--and the obsessed priest, so many others; they stayed in my mind, and I didn't intend to read the book in one sitting but I did, couldn't put it down--it's that kind of book. Very sexual, yes, and beautifully, even poetically written. No one does this better than Rechy.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I've read this novel twice, because, the first time, I raced through it to see how it would end. The second time, it's even better. I've been able to see how expertly Rechy uses language, how vividly the characters are drawn; he uses a different prose style for each of the many characters, a style that conveys the voice of each, from the driven priest to the hustler, the drag queen porn director, the black cowboy. Rechy is masterful at creating an oninous mood, employing the fierce Santa Ana winds of Los Angeles, the raging fires in the city, the approach of the night to arouse a sense of foreboding. It's a very sexual book because he is documenting a time when sex was everywhere, and he conveys that expertly. That he is able to bring all the diverse elements of his novel together in a stunning, startling climax is an accomplishment that ranks with his classic "City of Night." I would include this novel among the top books of the year.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 31, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I just read a real nasty review of this book in an L.A. paper, and the extent of the nastiness made me go out and buy the book, to check out why anyone could become so angry at a book by a very respected writer, Rechy. I understand now. It's a powerful book, and it's disturbing. It makes you think deeply about things, and if you don't want to think about those things--like S & M and a time when life was one endless sex parade--I guess one way to push it away is to attack it. The novel re-creates 1981 exactly as I remember it, sex everywhere--and, then, just whispers, intimations of a "gay illness." That's how it happened, and this book is especially relevant to what is happening today. Beyond that, its gallery of characters is unforgettable, and Rechy at the same time that he's at times brutally honest about his characters is compassionate, especially toward those who were being thrust out of the world that was more and more involved only with youth, allowing only the young in some dance places, bathhouses. The portrait of the older man Thomas Watkins almost brought me to tears; and there's a terrific female character, a gangster's girl, who toughly faces off some punks. The ending leaves you gasping, it's that powerful--and meaningful.
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