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City of Night Paperback – November 12, 2013
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Praise for City of Night:
One of the few major American writers whose life is almost as interesting, and meaningful, as his work.”Michael Cunningham
A ground-breaking book . . . observing a whole new array of characters . . . many for the first time in American literature. . . . A classic American novel.”Edmund White, The New York Review of Books
Probably no novel published in this decade is so complete, so well held together, and so important as City of Night.”Larry McMurtry
One of the major books to be published since World War II.”The Washington Post
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
This is one of the best first novels in recent years. . . . It is not presented and it is not conceived, it is written.”Frank O’Hara, Kulchur
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.”Peter Buitenhuis, The New York Times Book Review
John Rechy shows great comic and tragic talent. He is a truly gifted novelist.”Christopher Isherwood
A stunning piece of writing.”David Bowie
When John Rechy’s first novel, City of Night, appeared in 1963, there had never been anything quite like it. . .Its urgent, syntax-scrambled style [was] a wonderful shock to the reading eye, like that of Hubert Selby’s Last Exit to Brooklyn and William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch. City of Night was distinctly a Beat novel, rangy and full of bold riffs as a Charlie Parker album. Rechy displayed a throwaway brilliance.”Gary Indiana, The Los Angeles Times Book Review
An American classic, with its loner hero, its juke joints and neon signs, its restless shifting from city to city . . . a hybrid of On the Road and Catcher in the Rye.”Independent on Sunday (London)
The novel has not aged a bit. . . . one reads [it] eagerly. . . . We understand better its exceptional authenticity, its premonitory vision, its subtle literary innovations. The characters . . . have the tragic complexity of Vautrin, Charlus, or Morel, and the aggressive solitude of the marginal people of Jean Genet. . . . Its poetry is not ostentatious nor imposed. . . . The protagonists are individuals of flesh and blood.”Hugo Marsan, Le Monde (France)
Rechy is more than a good reporter, for he has touched his materials with the imagination and the craft of a writer.”Granville Hicks, The Saturday Review of Literature
It is the honesty about his narcissism, his depression, and his sexual promiscuity that lifts Rechy’s writing to art. Like so many books, City got attention because of the sex, but it’s really about the soul.”Daniel Curzon, The Los Angeles Times
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It's challenging and a dense read. It will take time to get into, but it is well worth it.
There is so much going on in this book that I wished I would have had people to discuss it with. So, get some friends to read it with you. If you are in a book club that would not be offended and likes to read more challenging books, read this book.
I made the mistake of telling my friends about the book and they immmediately insisted that I allow them to borrow it. I suspect they were so taken with the book, they passed it along to someone else because I never got my book back! Each time I bought a new copy, the same thing happened! This is the eighth copy and it is not leaving my library! Over the years, I was also able to purchassed an autographed copy of the book, and it is kept in my safe deposit box.
I doubt if another writer will ever be able to capture the essence and the rich characters of the gay life in America as did Mr. Rechy in this classic.
Most recent customer reviews
I liked this classic for its literary descriptiveness of the period and locales, its authentic look into a different world of gay hustling, and its impact at...Read more