Beneath the Skin: The Collected Essays of John Rechy

Beneath the Skin: The Collected Essays of John Rechy

by John Rechy
     
 

When John Rechy broke out in 1963 as the bestselling author of City of Night, his novel about the underworld of gay male prostitution, he became a source for provocative commentary on sex, homosexuality, and culturally transgressive literature for publications as varied as the New York Times, The Nation, the Advocate, and Forum. Beneath the Skin collects more than

Overview

When John Rechy broke out in 1963 as the bestselling author of City of Night, his novel about the underworld of gay male prostitution, he became a source for provocative commentary on sex, homosexuality, and culturally transgressive literature for publications as varied as the New York Times, The Nation, the Advocate, and Forum. Beneath the Skin collects more than four decades of the author's outspoken essays—many never before reprinted and almost none ever appearing previously in book form. Rechy holds forth on topics ranging from the birth of the sexual liberation movement, the rise of Anita Bryant, and the emergence of AIDS to sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and last year's repeal of sodomy laws. Beneath the Skin also includes pieces on gay and lesbian authors such as Gore Vidal, Jack Kerouac, Christopher Isherwood, Carson McCullers, and Elizabeth Bowen, and non-gay figures like Philip Roth, William T. Vollman, and Joyce Carol Oates, as well as essays on Madonna, Tom Cruise, Eminem, Liberace, Marilyn Monroe, and the gay silent film star Ramon Novarro.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A boost in Rechy's literary visibility following the 2002 biography Outlaw makes the time ripe for this career-spanning collection of essays. Broken into four sections, the anthology organizes its pieces generally by decade (though the first section covers the period 1958 to 1979) with occasional afterthoughts. Though one of the goals is to demonstrate Rechy's versatility beyond the homosexual themes (from AIDS to homosexuality in film) that made him famous, too many of the wider-ranging pieces are not especially noteworthy. Eminent exceptions include reportage from 1970 on the army's battle against soldiers protesting the Vietnam War and a 2003 tribute to the late Kathleen Winsor (Forever Amber), while the opening chapter on Rechy's childhood roots in the Mexican immigrant culture of El Paso illuminates a milieu that has shaped his writing. Rechy tends to be more energetic and persuasive when he turns to queer subjects; one prominent homophobic attack on his first novel, City of Night, still rankles 40 years later and is the subject of two articles. This isn't an ideal introduction to Rechy-his fiction better serves that purpose-but it will give those familiar with him much to think about and to feel, including perhaps regret that he hasn't done more of the journalistic writing that, at its best, highlights his powers of observation. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
When Rechy's novel, City of the Night, burst onto the scene in 1963, it was both lauded and attacked as one of the first unrepentant chronicles of gay male sexuality. Since then, Rechy has published a dozen novels and several plays, and his essays, reviews, and lectures have appeared in numerous national journals, including the Nation and the New York Times. This book catalogues a career of in-your-face journalism that has always challenged stereotypes. From an impressionistic vision of Los Angeles to a brief but impassioned appeal against the bigotry and cruelty meted out to AIDS sufferers written in 1982 at the height of the ignorance and panic about the disease, Rechy's brittle, take-no-prisoners literary style has been a voice of passion for social justice and intellectual and aesthetic curiosity. His timeless perspective will still attract readers today; recommended for most collections where essays are popular.-Jeff Ingram, Newport P.L., OR Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780641976162
Publisher:
Avalon Publishing Group, Inc.
Publication date:
11/26/2008
Pages:
305
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

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