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When John Rechy’s City of Night first appeared in 1963, it was greeted with equal parts fanfare and horror. The unapologetically sexual story of a young gay hustler shocked readers with its frank treatment of a subject most knew about but chose to pretend did not exist. Yet more shocking was Rechy’s revelation that the book was largely autobiographical. For a street hustler to reach literary fame and widespread acclaim was unheard-of, especially if he was gay. Rechy continued to publish explosive novels, including Numbers, The Sexual Outlaw, and Rushes—even as he continued hustling seedy Hollywood Boulevard—and soon became an integral part of the new literary elite that included Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, and Christopher Isherwood. In this enlightening biography, Charles Casillo provides an absorbing picture of the outlaw writer, examining the dichotomy of Rechy’s life as both a respected author and professor and a tough-as-nails sex worker. Working closely with Rechy himself as well as his family, friends, admirers, and colleagues, Casillo presents a complex portrait of a man who found sexual liberation through prostitution and used it to create a vivid and influential artistic legacy.
The work of John Rechy: Bodies and Souls, City of Night, Coming of the Night, The Fourth Angel, Marilyn’s Daughters, Numbers, Our Lady of Babylon, Rushes, The Sexual Outlaw, and The Vampires.
Charles Casillo is a Los Angeles–based freelance writer. He is the author of The Marilyn Diaries, a novel about Marilyn Monroe.
Posted January 1, 2003
HE IS FOR SALE AND WHAT A FACE IS THAT IT.LETS TALK .HE IS A GOOD WRITER ,AND CHARLES CASILLO. THANKS FOR YOUR PUT GREAT WRITERING.THANKS FOR A JOURNEY ON THE STREETS.LOVE IT .Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 20, 2003
The story of a hustler who was also a great writer. A tough male prostitute who also had a tremendous sensitivity and tender love for his mother. A man who was a total narcisist but had the ability to be a giving teacher. All of these "lives" of John Rechy are carefully explored and masterfully expressed by biographer, Casillo who shows a writing skill equal to his subject.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 24, 2003
I have been a fan of John Rechy's since I read City of Night when it first came out and I thought it was really shocking but excellent. Through the years I have followed his career and his books have continued to enthrall me. Charles Casillo's biography is a behind the scenes look at some of Rechy's novels and also tells some really interesting things about his life. It seems that Rechy's incredible life has been fuel enough to ignite his work to the level of genius. I recommend this biography and I also suggest that readers take a look at all of Rechy's novels.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 10, 2002
Posted December 15, 2002
Posted December 27, 2002
Shocking, disturbing, moving--always fascinating--John Rechy seems to have been through enough experiences to fill several lives. It¿s amazing to me that Rechy was a respected and talented author and professor who, during the same period of time, was hustling the streets as a male prostitute. I was totally fascinated by Charles Casillo¿s excellent biography. It would be easy for a writer to tell Mr. Rechy¿s story in a lurid and exploitive way (like some of Rechy`s books). Instead Mr. Casillo tells the story with taste and respect. By treating his subject with the compassion and dignity he deserves Mr. Casillo achieves an enthralling portrayal of a man who was a compelling mass of contradictions.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.