the El Paso Times
writer talks about his craft, fame, sexuality
El Paso Times
Rechy preferred to remain somewhat anonymous -- for a
Rechy sometimes would not tell others that he was a writer,
even as he cranked out best-selling novels.
Rechy, 72, just published
his latest novel "The Life and Adventures of Lyle
Clemens," a book he is optimistic could liberate
him from the long-standing label as the poster boy for
Rechy, an El Paso native,
is most often associated with the classic 1960s novel
"City of Night" and other gay-oriented books
that he has written over the years.
"I am very hopeful
this book gets really good attention and sales, that I
will finally, finally, finally be just a writer who is
gay," Rechy said in a phone interview from his home
in Los Angeles.
Rechy is receiving good
press, positive reviews on "Lyle Clemens."
"The book feels at times like one of Robert Alman's
classic films, perhaps 'Nashville,' with its expansive
canvas and its mixture of humor and sadness. ... A comic
tour de force and, at the same time, a truly heartfelt
book," Publisher's Weekly said in its starred review.
Writer Gore Vidal described
Rechy as "one of the few original American writers
of the last century."
Rechy acknowledged he has
enjoyed soaking up the praise.
"For a long time, I was just somewhat ignored,"
Rechy said. "I've had to battle for recognition.
It hasn't been easy."
Now, even reviewers who
wouldn't review Rechy are taking another look at his earlier
works. One of those critics described Rechy's novel "The
Miraculous Day of Amalia Gomez" as "an undiscovered
UTEP's Liberal Arts College just recently gave Rechy a
Gold Nugget Award for outstanding achievement.
He will be the keynote speaker
Thursday at an El Paso Public Library Association fund-raising
dinner at the El Paso Marriott.
"You want your hometown
to acknowledge you. Until recently, that hasn't been so
forthcoming. It seems to be now, and I love that,"
As for "Lyle Clemens," Rechy describes the novel
as a humorous and sad tale that takes the form and spirit
of an 18th-century novel.
"I've always been fascinated
by form and structure. There's a challenge in taking a
very old form and make it seem modern," Rechy said.
Rechy is working on a long novel called "Autobiography:
A Novel" and a novella based in El Paso. He also
teaches creative writing at the University of Southern
your artistic energy is very wearing, but the pleasure
comes when you see somebody transformed and then triumphing,"