After the Blue Hourby John Rechy
“Rechy . . . continues to write with such elegance and lyricism . . . A mind so singularly attuned to the layers and landscapes of American life.” —Susan Straight, Los Angeles Times
John Rechy’s first novel, City of Night, an international bestseller, is considered a modern classic. Subsequent work asserts his place among America’s most important writers. The author’s most daring work, After the Blue Hour is narrated by a twenty-four-year-old writer named John Rechy. Fleeing a turbulent life in Los Angeles, he accepts an invitation to a private island from an admirer of his work. There, he joins Paul, his imposing host in his late thirties, his beautiful mistress, and his precocious teenage son. Browsing Paul’s library and conversing together on the deck about literature and film during the spell of evening’s “blue hour,” John feels surcease, until, with unabashed candor, Paul shares intimate details of his life. Through cunning seductive charm, he married and divorced an ambassador’s daughter and the heiress to a vast fortune. Avoiding identifying his son’s mother, he reveals an affinity for erotic “dangerous games.” With intimations of past decadence and menace, an abandoned island nearby arouses tense fascination over the group. As “games” veer toward violence, secrets surface in startling twists and turns. Explosive confrontation becomes inevitable.
“Rechy’s art has always been about power in various incarnations: the power of class and race, of the body and the intellectual . . . He continues to write with such elegance and lyricism, descending into raw scenes of human longing and violence . . . His language remains lapidary and hypnotic, never fading in its own control.” —Susan Straight, Los Angeles Times
“John Rechy is as bold as ever. When Gore Vidal said that Rechy was ‘one of the few original American writers of the last century,’ he was right. There’s no other writer like him, and with the publication of After the Blue Hour, he shows no signs of letting up.” —Ken Harvey, Lambda Literary
“A taut meditation on what it means to represent and to write, to read and to be read. After the Blue Hour is a beach read for those who prefer to thumb Genet rather than Grisham on the deckside chaise.” —Eric Newman, Los Angeles Review of Books
“Shocking, erotic, and suspenseful . . . His fiction is as provocative and electric as ever. Rechy has explored the intersection of identity, sexual yearning, and morality throughout his career, but never with the clarity he exhibits in After the Blue Hour.” —Jonathan Parks-Ramage, OUT Magazine
“Rechy’s gift for storytelling and erotic embellishment shows no signs of wear-and-tear . . . Mysterious, intriguing, and brashly amatory, Rechy’s take on gamesmanship, power, domination, and deception is a welcome return to form for the author and a wild ride indeed.” —Jim Piechota, The Bay Area Reporter
“Tense metafiction, pungent with desire and emotional cruelty . . . Rechy’s prose is lean and sinewy . . . The novel is unflinching in its candor even as its events have a tantalizing aura of mystery.” —Publishers Weekly
“A steamy tale . . . with a kind of Gatsby-by-way-of-Henry James subplot. Beautifully written.” —Kirkus Reviews
Praise for John Rechy:
“One of the few original American writers of the last century.” —Gore Vidal
“John Rechy is expert on the mechanics of desire and on the subtle ways we clothe that universal drive.” —Los Angeles Magazine on About My Life and the Kept Woman
“John Rechy, rather like Henry Miller, is best known for his depiction of raw and shocking sexuality and yet best loved by some readers for his expression of a passion so sublime that it approaches a state of rapture.” —Jonathon Kirsch, Los Angeles Times Book Review on The Life and Adventures of Lyle Clemens
“John Rechy is one of the few major American writers whose life is almost as interesting, and as meaningful, as his work.” —Michael Cunningham
“Fresh, beautiful, totally courageous–and totally cool . . . John Rechy doesn’t fit into categories. He transcends them. His individual vision is unique, perfect, loving and strong.” —Carolyn See, presenting PEN-USA West’s Lifetime Achievement Award
“[Rechy] has spent his life excavating the cracks at the periphery of American culture . . . A substantial artist.” —Frank Browning, Salon.com on The Coming of the Night
“What he has given us for more than thirty years is a wonderful and terrifying gift . . . He has given us life and literature.” —Michael Bronski, presenting The Publishing Triangle’s William Whitehead Lifetime Achievement Award
“One of the most talented writers of his generation.” —Bruce Benderson, Paper on The Coming of the Night
After dinner we sat on the deck in cushioned wooden chairs. The deck extended partially over the lake, at the edge of which the sun had left behind hints of the blue radiance soon to come.
We lingered, drinking cool wine Paul had just opened.
I stared out into the horizon, Sonya next to me. All that remained of the sunlight was a golden arc already fading as a thin veil of darkness glided over it. A deep blue glow loomed over the water.
“I never tire of the sunset on the lake,” Sonya said, “especially at its last moments.”
“It’s the blue hour,” I told her.
“How beautiful. The blue hour. What is that, John?” she asked.
“It’s not an hour at all, just a few seconds of blue light between dusk and night,” I said. It was a light I cherished. On the beach in Santa Monica, I would linger on the sand waiting for the start of sunset, an orange spill over the horizon, soon veiled by a blue darkening light.
Gulls would fly onto the beach, gathering at the shoreline, beaks pointed at the water. Often, lithe bodies came to perform a dance of Tai-chi at the edge of the ocean. Their graceful motions seemed to me to acknowledge and confront the night. “Some people claim that’s when everything reveals itself as it is, Sonya.” I was cherishing her rapt attention. “They say everything is both clearest and most obscure—a light that challenges perception, revealing and hiding.”
“I like that,” Sonya said, “revealing and hiding.”