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Numbers

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  207 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Book jacket/back: Johnny Rio, a handsome narcissist but no longer a pretty boy, travels to Los Angeles, the site of past sexual conquest and remembered youthful radiance, in a frenzied attempt to recreate his younger self. Johnny has ten precious days to draw the "numbers," the men who will confirm his desirability, and with the hungry focus of a man on borrowed time, he s
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Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 13th 1994 by Grove Press (first published 1967)
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Community Reviews

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Huw Collingbourne
John Rechy is a wonderful but sadly unappreciated writer and this is one of his best books. It tells the story of Johnny Rio (a barely fictionalised version of the author) who returns to Los Angeles for ten days in which he will hunt for a fixed number of sexual partners. And this is where we come to the major reason for Rechy's lack of wider public appreciation: his novels contain a great deal of explicit description of male-to-male sexual acts. Even in the 21st Century, some people may find th ...more
Adam Dunn
It's not City of Night, don't be expecting it. This follow-up likely disappointed many but it is classic Rechy and well describes the sex-hunt and mating game that continues to this day and likely will well into the future. Cruising has never been displayed as well as in this book, and perhaps, being written in 1967, everyone knew it had been done the best it was going to get and moved on. This could explain why a similar book hasn't been done since. But... but... is it enough?
The book could do
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Thomas Hinton
This novel follows the exploits of Johnny Rio, an extremely good-looking narcissist, during his ten day return to the city of 'dead angels', Los Angeles.

Rechy explores the city as a series of subterranean spaces -- public parks, theatre balconies, cinema bathrooms -- that play host to the grubby and fleeting homosexual activities of the nameless individuals who haunt them. In doing so, Rechy delineates an interpenetration of sex and death, where the former, played out in all its glorious anonym
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Picoroco
Poor, dispiriting follow up to City of Night. Morally hollow with no real narrative to hang on to.
Samuel
...for the sex-obsessed
James Roman
As an impressionable junior-high student when this book was released, I had an after-school job at the town library, shelving books. It meant that I held the very newest books before a single person checked them out. To prevent challenges by local residents if a book might be "racy," the librarians glued a favorable review inside the cover to preclude all confrontations. "Numbers" was one such title. All I had to do was look at the cover and spy that review pasted inside to know that I must be t ...more
SA Collins
Numbers (and City of the Night) were my bibles of gay life when I was a burgeoning teenaged gay boy of the late 70's and 80's. His work both enriched me and instructed me on a part of gay life that I knew nothing about. But more importantly, Rechy gave me the gift that being gay didn't mean that I was emasculated. I was transformed by this knowledge.

When I need a literary reset - it is his prose and his hand and his mind that I turn to. He has never failed me yet.
Gene
Dated, rather repetitive, and with a character who comes off as more emotionally stunted, psychologically backward, and depressing rather than engaging, Numbers nevertheless has some lovely descriptions, and certainly serves as a fascinating historical record of the pre-AIDS era. The sex is more perfunctory than titillating (as supported by the plot and characterization), but there's a lot of it, and its honesty and directness still feels fresh. My favorite part of the book was the naturalistic ...more
Andy
Oct 12, 2011 Andy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Holly Woodlawn
Recommended to Andy by: Mano
Shelves: gay-lesbian
My edition of "Numbers" has John Rechy decked out in his hustler finest, resplendent in work denim shirt sleeves rolled up the arm to show off his saucy guns. Really wild.

"Numbers" is a wild story about a hustler who returns back to his old haunts in Hollywood after a sabbatical in Texas. Once he comes back he returns to his old habits, realizing he wasn't really in it for the money, but is in reality a rampaging sex addict. The book starts out as a serious meditation on loneliness but descends
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David Cain
Completely brillian
Micha Meinderts
Maybe it was a good book for its time, but damn, such pointless drizzle. The style grated across my eyes, there was no plot to speak of, the character was not very fleshed out at all and not very likeable either and the worst thing was that in the end the whole story had been in vain. It reminded me somewhat of The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway, what I remember of it anyway, and that's NOT a compliment.

Waste of time.
Wally
Jun 06, 2007 Wally rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: goodlooking youngmen
This book is serious literature and porn - incredibly dark existentialist tale set in L.A. Is Rechy the best writer of Los Angeles ever? Good question. I don't like to deal in absolutes personally, but you could say, yes, and I might hum and nod quietly in agreement. I teach this book in a class on addiction. One mystery - is there a cameo appearance by Isherwood 3/4 of the way through - I've always thought so.
Richard
A classic LGBT book from the sixties, it is a quick read that illustrates sexual compulsion with engaging and funny prose that posseses very dark undertones. One of John Rechy's better books.
Lutz
it's not bad , but sadly not very good either , and not a patch on the amazing and life- changing City of Night.
Tlcp
Interesting description of subculture just as all Rechy's books are
pjr8888
Feb 19, 2013 pjr8888 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq, fiction
revised Evergreen Editions 1984
Edward
gay men,fiction,california
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John Rechy is an American author, the child of a Scottish father and a Mexican-American mother. In his novels he has written extensively about homosexual culture in Los Angeles and wider America, and is among the pioneers of modern LGBT literature. Drawing on his own background, he has also contributed to Chicano literature, especially with his novel The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gomez, which is ta ...more
More about John Rechy...
City of Night The Sexual Outlaw: A Documentary The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gómez The Coming of the Night Rushes

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