| A Writer
Mr. J. Turrentine
Los Angeles, CA. 90046
I had, of
course, never heard of you until I saw your name affixed
to your little review (the only negative one) of my 13th
novel, "The Life and Adventures of Lyle Clemens,"
in the NYTBR. The few references to you on the internet
give no indication about your credentials for reviewing
my book, or for reviewing at all.
I wonder how
you reconcile assaulting a novel you did not read--and
we both know you didn't read my novel, don't we? An author
can always tell. Tell-tale signs include the generalizing
of a book's subject, distortion of descriptions in publicity
releases, book jackets, etc. Of course, the invitation
not to read a book is given by the assignment of only
a few words. Why spend the time for a hundred bucks and
a tiny byline, right?
my character Lyle disengaged from popular culture and
contemporary life (precisely a point of the characterization),
but then you went on to decry the "pornographic bluntness"
of my novel. Only someone totally disengaged from popular
culture and contemporary life, especially aspects of sexuality,
would find pornography in my novel's erotic (not even
graphic) passages. But, then, you didn't read my novel,
as we both know.
my first novel "a cult classic." It is taught
in literature courses in America and many foreign countries.
In its 40 years, "City of Night" has not gone
out of print, has been translated into over 20 languages;
new editions constantly appear. It was on bestseller lists
for months. A "cult" classic? Only if you consider
homosexuality, one of its ostensible subjects, a cult.
Would you call James Baldwin's "Go Tell It on the
Mountain" a "cult classic" because it focuses
My first novel
grandly survived strident reviews like yours because fake
reviews and self-appointed reviewers fade, are remembered--if
at all--in derisive footnotes about their mistakes.
Shame on you,
Mr. Turrentine, to pretend to have read a novel you then
went on to denounce.
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Original material by John Rechy appears
frequently on these pages.