September 29, 2011

Review: Numbers

Numbers by John Rechy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dated, rather repetitive, and with a character who comes off as more emotionally stunted, psychologically backward, and depressing rather than engaging, Numbers nevertheless has some lovely descriptions, and certainly serves as a fascinating historical record of the pre-AIDS era. The sex is more perfunctory than titillating (as supported by the plot and characterization), but there's a lot of it, and its honesty and directness still feels fresh. My favorite part of the book was the naturalistic and believable dialogue -- Rechy is extremely talented at rendering character through offhand conversation. It's a quick read, but ultimately more important as a document than as a relevant, enjoyable entertainment. I rated it an extra star for its frankness, dialogue, and significance in the gay fiction canon.

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