Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Numbers” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.79  ·  Rating details ·  277 Ratings  ·  24 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
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 13th 1994 by Grove Press (first published 1967)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Numbers, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Numbers

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Bodosika Bodosika
Aug 30, 2016 marked it as to-read
Started this book yesterday night
thought it would be interesting but I guess am wrong,
The characters descriptions were absurd and boring,the dialogue too artificial.I never knew it was about homosexuality and group of perverts....all the same I don't pick a book without reading it till the End,But I assure you that I will never read any book by 'John Rechy' again!
Huw Collingbourne
Apr 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
...for the sex-obsessed
Dec 09, 2007 rated it it was ok
Poor, dispiriting follow up to City of Night. Morally hollow with no real narrative to hang on to.
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is definitely adult reading material, not so much because of any eroticism, but rather the subject matter--promiscuous sexual excess. It may take some familiarity with a life such as Mr. Rechy elucidates to appreciate what a truly refreshing and poignant writer he actually is.
Steve Woods
Dec 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: gay-fiction, kindle
Most people lead their lives within the structures of relationship established by their society, drawing them like a blanket of security that reassures about the nature of self in relation to the world and others. For some however, who are torn out of that comfortable place and broken in some way by their early experiences in life, usually within the family, there is another side of life, a darker side than dwells near the fringes. Most people have some awareness of it, unless they live in compl ...more
Thomas Hinton
Apr 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Adam Dunn
Feb 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: glbt
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
James Roman
Jun 09, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Sep 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 12, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  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
S.A. Collins
Sep 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Micha Meinderts
Jul 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
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.
May 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
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.
May 09, 2016 rated it liked it
I liked Rechy's writing style; it made getting into Johnny Rio's thoughts and downward (?) spiral entertaining and even tangible, in some parts. However, the content and characters did nothing for me. Johnny was too narcissistic for me to enjoy reading about him, even as he changed throughout the novel. But like I said, the way Rechy strings words together is superb.
Dec 05, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is 95% seedy sex-capades and 5% story. I enjoyed the very small story which centered around old L.A. It got to the point where I started scanning over the sex scenes which were often and redundant.
Liked City of Night much more.
Jan 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Focused, repetitive and somewhat extreme narrative.
Feb 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Interesting description of subculture just as all Rechy's books are
pan ellington
another gritty, l.a. tome by rechy. enjoyable reading about parts of the city i know well, nothing i haven't read before, though.
Dec 01, 2007 rated it liked it
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.
Feb 19, 2013 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq, fiction
revised Evergreen Editions 1984
David Cain
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Completely brillian
Dec 24, 2013 rated it liked it
it's not bad , but sadly not very good either , and not a patch on the amazing and life- changing City of Night.
rated it liked it
Nov 03, 2012
rated it it was amazing
Jun 18, 2008
Brett Stevens
rated it liked it
Jan 31, 2015
Michael Reed
rated it it was amazing
May 31, 2012
rated it really liked it
Aug 20, 2012
Drew Ferguson
rated it liked it
May 24, 2008
rated it really liked it
Nov 01, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Lord Won't Mind (Peter & Charlie Trilogy)
  • Harlan's Race (Harlan's Story, #2)
  • Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders
  • Querelle of Brest
  • The Page Turner
  • What Love Means to You People
  • Gaywyck
  • Brendan Wolf
  • The Beauty of Men
  • Like People in History
  • Virtually Normal
  • The Beautiful Room Is Empty
  • Goldenboy (Henry Rios Mystery, #2)
  • Latter Days
  • Pulp Friction: Uncovering the Golden Age of Gay Male Pulps
  • Probation
  • Last Summer
  • 50 Gay and Lesbian Books Everybody Must Read
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...

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »