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The Coming of the Night

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  127 ratings  ·  12 reviews
John Rechy's new novel is a return to the themes and scenes of his classic, best-selling City of Night and a bittersweet memorial to a lost world -- gay Los Angeles in the moment before AIDS. It is 1981, a summer night, and an unscripted ritual is about to take place. Young, beautiful Jesse is celebrating one year on the dazzling gay scene and plans to lose himself complet ...more
Kindle Edition, 259 pages
Published December 1st 2007 by Grove Press (first published 1999)
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George K. Ilsley
A blend of faux-porn and satire, The Coming of the Night reminds us that in the so-called golden years or the glory days of gay sexual liberation (ie pre-Aids) the community suffered from racism, ageism, lookism and the merciless snap judgements of ruthless size queens. While evoking porn conventions in this work (and explicitly mocking them in the porn shoot sequences), Rechy repeatedly veers off from the predictable erotic outcomes at the last moment, as characters judge and reject each other ...more
Nov 23, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Open this book to any page and you'll be bombarded with one graphic, gratuitous, poorly written, laugh out loud sex scene after another (Oh yeah baby give it to me, that's it like that . . . seriously that's how inane the dialogue is). Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Rechy's and some of his work is downright brilliant. I loved City of Night, This Day's Death, The Fourth Angel and especially Bodies and Souls. However, The Coming of the Night is a thinly vieled excuse for straight up porn. ...more
Gavin Stephenson-Jackman
Although I lived through the time period in which this novel is set, I can honestly say that my lifestyle never looked like any of those depicted by the characters illustrated so vividly here. A single day and the intersection of the lives of the characters is driven by the strange Santa Anna winds in L.A. This is a glimpse into a time of sexual freedom before the AIDS epidemic changed it forever. Although set in California I'm sure you could have found similar experiences almost anywhere in Nor ...more
I definitely was expecting a fair amount of graphic sex being depicted because of the reviews I read. Actually I was looking forward to it, if it fit within the story lines......But holy shit ballz, I wasn't expecting almost every page to be filled with it. Believe me I am not complaining too much about-just a tad-bit. But at several points while reading this book I was thinking... Seriously is that all this book is about?.... Hmmm this would make a great gay porn movie series and yes I would wa ...more
Mar 31, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The "big conclusion" was not inevitably worth trudging through the rest of the book. I felt at times I was just not 'getting it' because for such a lauded author to use such dull prose and inane dialogue over saturated, graphic sex just made it feel like reading trashy erotica.
Paul Dyer
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jesse, who is arguably the main character, only because the novel starts and ends with him, thinks, in the opening segment of the book, that he “[can] hardly wait for the coming of the night.” The “the” in the title is significant, because the book is not about the coming of Jesse’s night, of that particular night for all the characters—the events of the novel, apart from a single flashback that runs through one character’s mind, taking place over one Saturday in the Summer of 1981—but about the ...more
Adam Dunn
Feb 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: glbt
I enjoyed this a lot and will continue with other Rechy books. I read City of Night first and this second. This is no City of Night but it was good, and I do still give very high marks, both to Mr. Rechy for not resting on his laurels and for writing something new, and for the book itself, very entertaining and thoughtful.

This book is a snapshot of gay culture in 1982, when the first whispers of AIDS were starting. I expected the book to eventually step into the AIDS crisis but it never does, ma
Apr 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is tricky to put a rating on because i spent most of my time reading this book not liking it. The characters seem more like types or viewpoints than people: their inner monologues are often similar and interchangable, their arcs are small and none of them are really sympathetic. Parts of the story are frankly unbelievable, sections of the writing are clunky and uneven and some of the narrative is repetitive to the point of irritation. (Maybe that's the point, but come on!!!!) And, honestly, ...more
S.A. Collins
Sep 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Rechy's work to me is the epitome of proper gay literature. His work is gritty, profane and immensely engaging. I live for this man's prose since I first discovered him as a young boy at the tender and impressionable age of 16 (and this was many moons ago).

Coming of the Night hold a very high place on my reading shelf (both physically and on my e-reader). If you've never read this man's work, do yourself a favor and do it - now!

It was because of his books (and Coming was certainly no different)
David Cain
Jan 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Coming of the Night is literature of the first order. Structure feeding the narrative, tight personal narration moving with a nearly anonymous shifting of perspective, poetry both delicious and offensive, this novel captures a crystal unique moment in the history of interpersonal emotions. It is a masterpiece.
Timothy Juhl
Apr 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of 'Boogie Nights' or 'Magnolia'.
A bold, scathing look at the carefree, gay community of southern California in 1982. Rechy used this running story line of several characters and the lives and choices they make over one hot summer night as an indictment of the sexual recklessness of gay men in those last days before AIDS.
May 04, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
DNF Not as engaging as his other novels; text is rather forced
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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

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“Did those “new gays” spinning about like giddy tops in discos care to know that dancing with someone of the same sex was punishable as “lewd conduct” then? Still, a club in Topanga Canyon boasted a system of warning lights. When they flashed, lesbians and gay men shifted—what a grand adventure!—and danced with each other, laughing at the officers’ disappointed faces! How much pleasure—and camaraderie, yes, real kinship—had managed to exist in exile. Did those arrogant young people know that, only years ago, you could be sentenced to life in prison for consensual sex with another man? A friend of his destroyed by shock therapy decreed by the courts. Another friend sobbing on the telephone before he slashed his wrists— Thomas's hands on his steering wheel had clenched in anger, anger he had felt then, anger he felt now. And all those pressures attempted to deplete you, and disallow— “—the yearnings of the heart,” he said aloud. Yet he and others of his generation had lived through those barbaric times—and survived—those who had survived—with style. Faced with those same outrages, what would these “new gays” have done? “Exactly as we did,” he answered himself. The wind had resurged, sweeping sheaths of dust across the City, pitching tumbleweeds from the desert into the streets, where they shattered, splintering into fragments that joined others and swept away. Now, they said, everything was fine, no more battles to fight. Oh, really? What about arrests that continued, muggings, bashings, murder, and hatred still spewing from pulpits, political platforms, and nightly from the mouths of so-called comedians? Didn't the “new gays” know—care!—that entrenched “sodomy” laws still existed, dormant, ready to spring on them, send them to prison? How could they think they had escaped the tensions when those pressures were part of the legacy of being gay? Didn't they see that they remained—as his generation and generations before his had been—the most openly despised? And where, today, was the kinship of exile?” 1 likes
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