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John Rechy: Beneath the Skin

John Rechy: Beneath the Skin

USA 2004, 305 pp., brochure,  17.49
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A boost in Rechy's literary visibility following the 2002 biography »Outlaw« makes the time ripe for this career-spanning collection of essays. The anthology organizes its pieces generally by decade with occasional afterthoughts. One of the goals is to demonstrate Rechy's versatility beyond the homosexual themes (from AIDS to homosexuality in film) that made him famous. The anthology includes a reportage from 1970 on the army's battle against soldiers protesting the Vietnam War, while the opening chapter on Rechy's childhood roots in the Mexican immigrant culture of El Paso illuminates a milieu that has shaped his writing. Rechy holds forth on topics ranging from the birth of the sexual liberation movement, the rise of Anita Bryant, and the emergence of AIDS to sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and last year's repeal of sodomy laws.