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City of Night – John Rechy (1963)

1960s: Days of Rage


City of Night is a novel written by John Rechy. It was originally published in 1963 in New York by Grove Press. Earlier excerpts had appeared in Evergreen Review, Big Table, Nugget, and The London Magazine. City of Night is notable for its exposé approach to and stark depiction of hustling, as well as its stream of consciousness narrative style. Set in the 1960s, the book follows the travels of a young man (Rechy uses the term ‘youngman’ when referring to hustlers) across the country while working as a hustler. The book focuses chapters on locations that the boy visits and certain personages he meets there, from New York City, to Los Angeles, San Francisco and New Orleans. Throughout the novel, the unnamed narrator has trysts with various peculiar characters, including another hustler, an older man, an S&M enthusiast and a bed-ridden…

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  1. A life-changing book for me at that time. I was able to interview John Rechy a few years ago, and tell him how important City of Night was, outside of its literary merits.

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