| A Writer
Ms. Karen Brailsford
Features, Associate Editor
New York, New York 10019
As a journalist,
you must know that few things are more insulting to a
writer--and few things more easily detected--than to have
someone pretend that he or she has read something one
You, Ms. Brailsford,
most certainly did not read my novel "The Miraculous
Day of Amalia Gómez"; but that did not keep
you from "reviewing" it for the New York
Times Book Review--and reviewing it negatively.
As I pointed
out in my letter printed in that book supplement a few
weeks after your purported "review" appeared,
you managed, in the few words allotted to you, to make
a glaring factual mistake that would not have occurred
had you read only the first paragraph of the novel.
an attempt to mask the obvious fact that you had prejudged
my book negatively without reading it, you filled the
brief space allotted to it with irrelevancies: You chose
by gratuitous implication to identify me as a "gay
writer." How is that relevant? I was, Ms. Brailsford,
raised among the Mexican-American people I describe in
my novel. I would suggest that my being gay and Mexican-American
has made me especially sensitive to all bigotry.
And exactly how did you find the title of my book "awkward"?
Because the name of my Mexican-American protagonist has
an accent mark? You extended the accusation of awkwardness
to my novel's ending. Had you read the book even cursorily,
you would have discovered that the ending is prepared
for from the first paragraph, and developed throughout,
as noted by the many other reviewers who praised it.
you concocted is the only negative one my novel received,
as you will see by glancing at the quotations from other
As a book-reviewer
for the Los Angeles Times, Nation, Washington
Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, New York
Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and other
periodicals--and as the author of ten novels--I know the
impact of reviews, and their ability to interfere with
that cherished connection between writer and reader, but
only with serious works. The meritorious overcome everything.
The least one can do in acknowledgment of that impact
on a literary work to read it if one agrees to review.
your reckless mistreatment of my novel, Ms. Brailsford,
but, more I protest your mistreatment of my beloved character,
my beloved Amalia.
from reviews of
"The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gómez"
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Original material by John Rechy appears
frequently on these pages.