|This biographical article relies on references to primary sources. (February 2012)|
|John Francis Rechy|
|Born||March 10, 1931
El Paso, Texas
John Francis Rechy (born March 10, 1931) is an American author. 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 taught in several Chicano literature courses in the United States. His work has often faced censorship due to its sexual content, particularly (but not solely) in the 1960s and 1970s, but books such as City of Night have been best sellers, and he has many literary admirers. He was also the source of controversy when Amy Harmon reported about a computer glitch on Amazon.com that suddenly revealed the identities of thousands of people who had anonymously posted book reviews. Several prominent publishers and authors, such as John Rechy, had "pseudonymously written themselves five-star reviews, Amazon's highest rating," and Amazon consequently stopped accepting anonymous reviews.
- 1 Novels and other works
- 2 Other works
- 3 Awards
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Novels and other works
Rechy is the author of the following novels and other works:
- City of Night (Grove Press, 1963)
- Numbers (Grove Press, 1967)
- This Day's Death (Grove Press, 1969)
- The Vampires (Grove Press, 1971)
- The Fourth Angel (Viking, 1972)
- The Sexual Outlaw (Grove Press, 1977) (non-fiction)
- Rushes (Grove Press, 1979)
- Bodies and Souls (Carroll & Graf, 1983)
- Marilyn's Daughter (Carroll & Graf, 1988)
- The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gomez (Arcade, 1991)
- Our Lady of Babylon (Arcade, 1996)
- The Coming of the Night (Grove Press, 1999)
- The Life and Adventures of Lyle Clemens (Grove Press, 2003)
- Beneath the Skin (Carroll & Graf, 2004)
- About My Life and the Kept Woman (Grove Press, 2008) (memoir)
City of Night
According to Rechy, "City of Night began as a letter to a friend of mine after I had been to New Orleans. I wrote City of Night because they were my experiences hustling, and it began as a letter. I didn't think of it as a book. But it should begin in El Paso . . . . in Texas". It is a story of a lonely male hustler who desperately seeks to find love on the bright neon streets of New York City, Los Angeles, and New Orleans.
In Numbers, the protagonist seeks to convince himself that he is desirable, if not loved, by the sheer numbers of men who bed him; however, he has a problem he can't solve—he's getting older, and his looks are beginning to fade.
This Day's Death
This Day's Death looks at a man whose dying mother and humiliating trial (on "lewd behaviour" charges following an arrest in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California) leave him with nothing left to lose but his dignity and passion.
According to the author's statements, this is his own least favorite work. It is, however, the novel in which his hometown of El Paso, Texas figures most prominently, and provides a valuable window into the personal impact of California's historic criminalization of homosexual behavior.
In Vampires, the supernatural and the weaknesses and vices of human beings collide on a remote tropical island in which a group of people—Richard, the host; Tarah, his first wife; Lianne, his second wife; Karen, his third wife; Joja, his former mistress; his son; a midget named Topaze; a tattooed thug named Rev; Duquesa, a mystery woman in veils; a ravishing beauty named Savannah; Bravo, an actor in underground films; and a male prostitute, Blue; and others—are victimizers and victims in strange, evil rituals
The Fourth Angel
Three 16-year-old 'angels" recruit another, the same age, and together, they play wicked games with bums, deviants, and each other, mindful that, in the cold, hard world of The Fourth Angel, only the fittest—or cruelest—survive.
The Sexual Outlaw
The Sexual Outlaw is a non-fiction work on the devastating effects of homophobia.
The book juxtaposes alternate chapters devoted to the author's sexual exploits on the one hand, and analysis of anti-homosexual laws and the effects of law enforcement's selective targeting of active homosexual populations on the other.
Rushes recounts the stories of the patrons of a gay bar on the waterfront of a large, anonymous city. Among the characters are a young heterosexual slumming, as it were, in the gay neighborhood, a young homosexual man on his first night out on the town, transvestite hookers, and seasoned gays seeking a quickie or a one-night stand.
This book is largely considered a fair cross-generational tableau of Gay America's age-discriminated big city bar scene in its heyday—following the Christopher Street Rebellion, but immediately prior to the devastating first appearance of AIDS in the Gay community.
Bodies and Souls
Through vignettes of various characters, Rechy examines the seamy underside of modern Los Angeles in Bodies and Souls.
At age 18, Normalyn discovers that she may be the daughter of Marilyn Monroe and Bobby Kennedy. She journeys to Hollywood to find out whether the rumor is true and learns the differences between Hollywood's fantasies and the complexities and demands of real life.
The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gomez
In seeing the huge silver cross in the blue sky over Hollywood, has Amalia Gómez seen a miracle? If so, God has chosen to enter her life just when she needs his help the most, for it is a life that is quickly falling apart.
About My Life and the Kept Woman
Rechy is the author also of The Coming of the Night, The Life and Adventures of Lyle Clemens (a modern novel loosely inspired by Henry Fielding's The Adventures of Tom Jones). Rechy has also written essays that have been anthologized in Beneath the Skin and several plays, including Tigers Wild (first performed as The Fourth Angel), Rushes (based on his novel), and Momma As She Became—Not As She Was, a one-act play.
A biography, Outlaw: The Lives and Careers of John Rechy was written by Charles Casillo. A CD-ROM of his life and work was produced by the Annenberg Center of Communications and is titled: Mysteries and Desire: Searching the Worlds of John Rechy.
Rechy is the first novelist to receive PEN-USA-West's Lifetime Achievement Award (1997); he is the recipient of the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement from Publishing Triangle (1999) and an NEA fellow. He is a faculty member at the Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California. He is the first recipient of ONE Magazine Culture Hero Award.
- Edmund White (2008), The Making of John Rechy, "The New York Review of Books", April 3, 2008.
- Amy Harmon (2004), Amazon Glitch Unmasks War of Reviewers, The New York Times, February 14, 2004.
- "City of Night", JohnRechy.com, retrieved 2007-10-22
- "Numbers", JohnRechy.com, retrieved 2007-10-22
- "This Day's Death", JohnRechy.com, retrieved 2007-10-22
- "Vampires", JohnRechy.com, retrieved 2007-10-22
- "The Fourth Angel", JohnRechy.com, retrieved 2007-10-22
- "The Sexual Outlaw", JohnRechy.com, retrieved 2007-10-22
- "Rushes", JohnRechy.com, retrieved 2007-10-22
- "Awards". PublishingTriangle.org. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
- "Culture Hero Award 2006—John Rechy". ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
- JohnRechy.com – Official website