“A major American novelist writing at the peak of his powers.” Richard Hall, The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
978-0-8021-3497-4 • $12.00 • Paperback • Feb. 1997
Once again, John Rechy takes us to an unexplored part of our world in Rushes, his first book following the controversial bestseller, The Sexual Outlaw.
The story develops during a single evening and is set in a “leather and Western” bar located near the decaying and deserted waterfront of a large American city. This is the sexual battlefield, the world of the trucks, the piers, the warehouses. And Rechy explores it with a compelling, dramatic story told in a style that is elegant, convincing, and unsparing.
Into the bar arrives a range of characters: the regular patrons in their ceaseless search for compatible love, the occasional customer hoping for a quick sexual fix, the female and transvestite hookers who work the dark streets outside, the couple seeking a voyeuristic experience, the young man venturing out for the first time.
During the course of the evening we come to know these people, their loneliness and their fears, their pride and their courage. We share with them their search and their discoveries. Rechy has distilled from these lives a human experience that is moving, painful, and revealing.
The evening culminates with one of the most shattering scenes in recent fiction. The central character, around whom most of the evenings activities have revolved, leaves the bar at closing time and goes to a sadomasochistic orgy room. This descent into the depths of a sexual underworld fulfills the ceremonial structure of this artfully conceived work. The almost religious rites of the evening end in ritual sacrifice.