| A Writer
The New York Times Book Review
229 West 43rd Street
New York, New York 10036
Dear Mr. McGrath:
A few years
ago my then-editor warned me not to write to you to suggest
a review of my novel Our Lady of Babylon, the result
being that I would never be reviewed in your pages or
reviewed only negatively. When I did write, the same source
informed that I was "blacklisted"--I had transgressed.
I refused to believe that those ostensibly dedicated to
the literary arts would deliberately compromise a respected
writer's reputation. Evidence of the dour prognosis manifested
itself; a cursory review dismissed my novel.
to another inquiry about my next novel, The Coming
of the Night, you telephoned to say it would not be
reviewed--so sexually graphic that there was no page to
quote from. Absurd, of course. You offered to reconsider.
No review appeared. Your phone call became doubly offensive.
In Salon, the same novel, about the coming of AIDS, was
described by Bruce Browning as one that "very nearly
Naive to think
there would be a resurgence of integrity at the NYTBR--or
should I say decency? You guaranteed dismissal of my 13th
novel, The Life and Adventures of Lyle Clemens,
by assigning a meager 200 or so words and a tiny by-line
for a review of a highly praised novel by an established
author, and you assigned it to a man of vague qualifications
struggling to have his first novel published by courting
book-review editors, according to an internet reference
to him (www.keef.net).
(He is apparently succeeding in the latter if not the
review, you extended professional disrespect to the editors
of Publishers Weekly, who gave my novel a starred
review, and to the editors of the Los Angeles Times
Book Review, who named it one of the year's 10 best.
In my letter
responding to your telephone call, I pointed out what
literary history affirms. Offensive reviewers and book-review
editors are recalled, if at all, only in derisive footnotes.
On page 213
of a biography of me published last year, the matter of
your odd telephone call is recorded.
you are, Mr. McGrath, in a footnote.
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Original material by John Rechy appears
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