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6/30 Day Book Meme: A Book That Makes Me Sad

In which I reflect upon the reason for my approaching this book very slowly.

Day 6: A Book That Makes You Sad:

Some books are just plain tear-jerkers. The one I pick doesn’t need Kleenex but it invokes a deeper sadness, one that is percolated with melancholy. When John Rechy first published City of Night (currently reading) in 1963, I could only imagine the controversy it sparkled in the country. The book is very bold and inventive in his account of the urban underworld of male prostitution. The unnamed narrator is of Latino descent originally from El Paso, who then traversed from New York to Los Angeles, San Francisco, then New Orleans, living a life on the edge. I am by no means judging hustlers and prostitutes, whose life on the streets and relationship so brief, sexualized, and transactional are not the cause of my sadness. The book is sad in the way it awakens an unbearable loneliness. Those sexually compulsive encounters help the narrator come to learn about himself, at the expense of his body. Everyone–hustlers, drag queens, bar flies, “scores”–are searching for companionship. The crowded night venues where bodies clamp to each other is the loneliest place because everyone can be anyone. The male-and-male partners cling in love shadows at bars, suggestive of the intangible nature of such relationship—shadowy. It is a novel about loneliness, about love and the ceaseless, furtive search for love. A full review is to follow. Loneliness is when you have to remain in the shadow in a neon-light world. This loneliness is very sad.

5 Responses

  1. I can’t wait to read your review of this one!

  2. I love what you wrote there – “Loneliness is when you have to remain in the shadow in a neon-light world” – that’s so true, and feels so lonely.

  3. I think that loneliness is much sadder for me than death or destruction. Wonder what that say about me as a reader…

  4. The most depressing book I have read not too long ago, Oct 2010 was The Weight Of Heaven, by T. Umrigar. Well written, but so crazy depressing. My review is here: http://wordsandpeace.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/the-weight-of-heaven/
    Emma @ Words And Peace

  5. […] 6: A book that makes you sad City of Night by John […]

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