Disclaimer – **This blog entry is a first impression on a book which deals with very adult themes. If you are under 18, or don’t like reading things about sex/sexual encounters/prostitution or homosexuality, then this post is not for you.**
The other day, I received my parcel from Amazon. What a Glorious Glorious day!! The next day another one arrived, filled with Graphic Novels (well, two Graphic Novels, but it sounds better if I say ‘filled’!) The first delivery had my Tina Fey autobiography, a board game for my Mum for her Birthday, and City of Night by John Rechy. Like I have stated in a past post, I had never heard about “City of Night” before untill I read this interview with Rechy in “Vice Magazine” it was a well written, page turning interview, and I thought I’d have to go check it out on Amazon.
To sum it up – it’s Rechy’s semi-autobiographical tale of his times hustling around America in the 1950s. I love it, not just because of the subject material being way ahead of it’s time, but also because it shows an America in which is rarely discussed in books that I have read before. Seedy, haunting, sexual. The scenes in New York are quite vivid and shocking, especially when he talks about how Time Square was such a sordid place – WAY before it was turned into a Walt Disney street Parade of lights and advertisements and the Naked Cowboy.
At Time Square, men of all descriptions sold themselves for as little as 75 cents sometimes – Rechy refers to sex acts as ‘making it’, which is a polite way to say ‘screwing for money.’
That’s another thing I love about Rechy’s writing – he never goes into detail – it’s NOT explaining the acts that he performs that makes it that much more sordid, that much more dark and forbidden. Another reason why I believed he chose not to be too graphic with the sexual encounters (also because he was smart enough to work out that the book would be banned in an instant in the 60s) was to not focus too much on the acts themselves – his book is obviously about the people that he meets, not what he does or does not do with them.
I’m making notes in a little red and black book so that I can discuss it with my book club – I suggested the book, and they were happy to go along with it, so I hope that they get some enjoyment out of it.
I’ll write more when I finish the book, and may even write a bit of what my fellow book club members thought!
Till next time!