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John Rechy (John Francisco Rechy) Biography

(1934– ), (John Francisco Rechy), City of Night, The Naked Lunch, Numbers, This Day's Death

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American novelist, born in El Paso, Texas, educated at Texas Western College and the New School for Social Research, New York. His first novel, City of Night (1963), was a celebrated exploration of a homosexual underworld and the rootlessness of big city life. Its narrator moves from El Paso to Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, encountering gay prostitution and drug-taking in bars and cheap hotels, describing hustlers, drag queens, and the police in a tone between sympathy and detachment. The book's subject matter attracted controversy, and praise, at a time of legal action surrounding William Burroughs's The Naked Lunch and the first US publication of works by Jean Genet and Henry Miller; it was followed by a sequel, Numbers (1967). Rechy's creation of an alternative gay world in opposition to the representatives of ‘straight’ society and moral order recalls Genet, especially the fascination with ambiguities of eros, criminality, and violence. His subsequent novels include This Day's Death (1970), The Fourth Angel (1973), Rushes (1979), Bodies and Souls (1983), and Marilyn's Daughter (1988). He is the author of two plays based on his novels, and The Sexual Outlaw (1977), a documentary account of urban homosexual lifestyles. His tenth book, The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gomez, appeared in 1991.

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