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Tells the story of Lee, an elderly man who is filled with madness but creates a gorgeous world of his own, filled with people with perfect souls
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A first novel that follows an old man, a kind of Old Testament prophet full of books and anger at the age, as he wanders-- sometimes violently--through the modern urban world and into his own past. Perdue writes convincingly and iconoclastically about a misanthrope who is frightening in his complete contempt for anyone who has not ``held on to their soul.'' Lee, who ``liked to pile up his books and lie in them,'' returns, at age 73, to his hometown, where he ``felt he was a stranger on shore while the town itself had taken ship and was bobbing out to sea.'' He's on a mission: ``The world was abounding in rumors of a Great One, a new doctrine just around the corner, and so little time for seeing it ushered in before he himself must needs depart.'' With the proceeds from the sale of his last 75 acres, he rents a room and tours the town, taken over by people of the ``new type.'' Lee ``now thought of himself as the unacknowledged prophet of the crumbling of the West.'' Influenced by his reading, he views late-20th-century life from the viewpoint of an alien: ``Everywhere, it seemed to him, the female principle was in the ascendant, from literature to men fretting over clothes....'' With a thick cane, he beats a boy almost to death, each blow ``on behalf of some great man the new age ignored.'' The story then quickly settles into a visionary journey and a series of encounters with ghosts both real and imagined--his Judy, long dead, appears to him at frequent intervals. When the cops appear at his lodgings, he moves to a tenement room and continues to brandish his cane like a Jehovah until he's finally captured--whereupon he escapes and makes his way to the forest, strips and waits for his death. While Lee's critique of modernity seems to be deadly serious, Perdue offers a marvelous black comedy that is sometimes as astringent as John Yount's Toots in Solitude. A promising debut. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
In this arty first novel, the eponymous protagonist, a relentlessly cynical, misanthropic septuagenarian, returns home to Alabama after some 60 years up North dealing with "children, money, jobs--life's rubbish." Clad in black, with black spectacles, onetime arsonist Lee, who suffers from hemorrhoids and rashes, viciously beats strangers with his cane. When he's not conversing with the wraithlike Judy, a shadowy companion of varying age, he also kicks children who happen to be in his path. Steeped in Greek classics, spouting cultured allusions to such subjects as Persian painting and Dostoyevski, Lee fancies himself a chastiser of humanity, satirist of the New South, a self-ordained Nietzschean prophet of the crumbling of the West. Alas, he's only a reactionary snob. A solipsistic little parable of spiritual self-delusion, the novel starts out interestingly but sinks under the weight of its own pretensions.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Four Walls Eight Windows, U.S.A., 1991. Hard Cover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Seller Inventory # 008222
Book Description Thunder's Mouth Pr, 1991. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110941423395
Book Description Four Walls Eight Windows, 1991. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0941423395
Book Description Thunder's Mouth Pr, 1991. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0941423395