David Gallagher's Reviews > City of Night

City of Night by John Rechy
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Sep 27, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: books-i-own, read-in-2010
Read from September 11 to 27, 2010

I wanted to like this book more - I really did. Having been born post the AIDS/HIV discovery era, I was always fascinated by the kind of lifestyle previous to that, and at the same time, felt repulsed by it to a certain degree.

The first chapters of this book are remarkable. Simply magnificent. The memories of childhood the narrator describes are so evocative and realistic it's unbelievable. Many quotes to remember and many things to delve into and take from. The language is the kind of language I always loved - the language I wish I could manipulate the same way Rechy does. He can actually touch the words, feel them, weigh them, know their texture and taste. Rechy doesn't know what dashes or apostrophes mean, but that's exactly what sets him apart: he denies playing by the rules and he structures a whole different universe in which he is the king. Even if he tries too hard to prove he deserves the crown.

But what didn't appeal to me in this book is the majority of the stories. I feel there are many we could have done without. The characters - despite their proximity to realism - feel contrite (today anyway) and don't make the gay community look beyond what the stereotypes for it say. It's depressing and heavy and a spoonful down your throat. I loved the beginning and ending sequences and the sentence which ends this book is simply brilliant.

But at the end of the day, I think Rechy himself describes my feelings for this book in his last paragraphs: And what has been found? Nothing. A circle which winds around, without beginning, without end.
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09/11 page 25
03/23 marked as: read
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