Click topic below for commentary.

Letter to Councilman LaBonge
Real People as Fictional Characters
Female Actors, Part Two
One Culture Hero Award
Adelante Gay Pride Gala
Best Work of Fiction?
Tom of Finland: Sexual Liberator or Enslaver
Lying Writers
Review of The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson
Promiscuous Thoughts
A Crime of the Heart
A Letter to Michael Silverblatt
"Have you no decency, sir?"
Political Incorrectness: Female Actors and Trojans
He Hugged Moms and Dads
What is a Girly Man?
Review of Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
From Sunset Boulevard to Mulholland Drive
The Gay Mammies
A Writer Protests
Review of Beyond Paradise: The Life of Ramon Novarro
A Spirit Preserved in 'Amber'
The Supreme Court Case
Review of Live from Golgotha: The Gospel According to Gore Vidal
Review of Lost Years: A Memoir 1945-1951 by Christopher Isherwood
Review of Out For Good
Review of Hoyt Street: an Autobiography
Review of Sergei Eisenstein: A Life in Conflict.
Review of Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation
Review of Whores for Gloria
Muscles and Mascara
Review of "Blonde"
Brother Paul, Sister Jan, Brother Hinn, God and the Folks
Advice to the Next Generation
Sins of the Fathers
Beatin' Around the Bush

Cruise Not Gay! The Judge Has Spoken

The Horror, The Horror
LA--a Cliché?
Dominick, Mark & Orenthal
Holy Drag!
Ms. Hill & Mr. Tom
Mrs. guy Ritchie 
Supreme Court 
Tom Cruise 
Eminem 
New Times Article 


  
  
  
  
  
A Writer Protests

December 24, 2003

Mr. J. Turrentine
Los Angeles, CA. 90046

Mr. Turrentine:

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?

You found 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.

You label 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 on African-Americans?

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.

Sincerely,

John Rechy

    

Back to Table of Contents Read Next Letter


Back to top 

Original material by John Rechy appears frequently on these pages.


© John Rechy, 1999-2006. All rights reserved.
Original material may not be used without author's permission. 
For questions please contact Speakingout@JohnRechy.com