James Purdy Gertrude of Stony Island Avenue

ISBN 13: 9780720610116

Gertrude of Stony Island Avenue

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9780720610116: Gertrude of Stony Island Avenue
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In England his novels are always bestsellers, yet for the last decade this American literary master has not been published in his own country.

No longer!

Gertrude of Stony Island Avenue displays the same plainspoken power that has dazzled Purdy's devoted audience for decades. The story of a woman's struggle to come to terms with a life seemingly emptied of meaning by her estranged daughter's death, it explores themes that Purdy has long made his own: the mysterious connections between creativity and self destruction; the human alchemy that binds us even as it forces us apart; the paradox of loss that leads ultimately to renewed life and love. Its portraits of two very different women -- a bereaved, bewildered mother and the artistic, passionate, doomed daughter she is still striving to understand -- are sketched in deceptively simple lines that finally, magically depict a complex world filled with characters observed in such utterly particular detail that they achieve a resonant universality that every reader will recognize.

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Review:

In 1956, James Purdy published Don't Call Me By My Right Name and Other Stories, and in the years since, he has produced some of the most remarkable stories, novels, and plays in the English language. Praised by artists as diverse as Dame Edith Sitwell, Gore Vidal, and John Waters for his evocative diction, emotional subtlety, and disturbingly baroque narratives, Purdy has created an emotional, psychological landscape uniquely American in its depiction of fear, love, loss, and violence. In Gertrude of Stony Island Avenue--his 14th novel and 46th book--he charts the life of Carrie Kinsella, a stifled, repressed woman who suddenly realizes the emptiness of her own life after the death of her daughter Gertrude, a brilliant artist. In her search for the "real" Gertrude, Carrie realizes that it is actually herself she is attempting to find. As in his classics Eustace Chisolm and the Works and In a Shallow Grave, Purdy's understanding of the horrors of the human heart--and the slim but possible potential for salvation--shines through here in ways that are devastating and sublime. Gertrude of Stony Island Avenue is James Purdy at his best, which is to say magnificent. --Michael Bronski

About the Author:

James Purdy is the award-winning author of forty-six books, plays, and poetry collections. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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