Title: Purple America: A Novel
Publisher: Little Brown & Co (T) April 1997
Publication Date: 1997
Binding: Paper Back
Book Condition: Fine (F)
Dust Jacket Condition: Fine
Signed: Signed By Author
Edition: First Edition.
Little Brown, Boston, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. First edition. Signed and dedicated by the author on the title page. A novel of a family in extremis; a son is summoned home to care for his mother, who has long been sick, after she is abandoned by her husband. Over the course of a single weekend night, the son, Hex Raitliffe, sees his good intentions annihilated by a phalanx of opposing forces. Bookseller Inventory # 20091112105603
Synopsis: With The Ice Storm and The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven, Rick Moody established himself as one of the boldest and most imaginative writers at work today. Now, in Purple America, he delivers the tour-de-force triumph fans have been waiting for -- a masterly novel that recalls the best work of Updike and Roth.Hex Raitliffe's family is fissioning. His ailing and elderly mother has lately been abandoned by his stepfather, and Hex has been summoned home to tangle not only with adult responsibilities, but with painful memories of the past. Drinking isn't helping. The romantic uncertainties of adolescence, in the person of one Jane Ingersoll, only muddle things more. And confronting his stepfather, who's mired in a crisis of his own at the dilapidated nuclear power plant down the coast, is definitely a mistake. Over the course of a single incendiary night, Hex, his mother, his stepfather -- and a cast including ghosts of family and friends past and present -- will discover the devastating uncertainty principles of family.Cast in a brilliant series of interknit voices, Purple America explores the profound connections between the forces that bind both family and the society in which familial love is played out.
Review: Purple America begins in a bathtub and ends in Long Island Sound. In between, Rick Moody's latest novel explores the landscape of a family in crisis. Dexter (Hex) Raitliffe, a freelance publicist, returns home to care for his mother, Billie, who is dying by inches of a neurological disease that will rob her of motion, of speech, and finally of thought. Billie's second husband has left her--a fact that Hex is unaware of until he comes home--and her only hope for assisted suicide lies in her son. Unfortunately, Hex is barely able to conduct his own life, much less take his mother's. Purple America takes place over the course of a single night; in that night, Hex gives his mother a bath, reconnects with an old love, gets drunk, and goes after his stepfather to confront him, with tragic results.
As Moody weaves his tale of this fateful Friday evening, he juxtaposes themes of aging, obsolescence, and physical decline with an accident at the nuclear power plant where his stepfather works. What lifts this novel above its rather depressing subject matter is Moody's unsentimental storytelling and the soaring language with which he gives his characters voice. Purple America is by turns lyrical, tragic, ferocious, and funny, and Rick Moody is a writer with a brilliant future ahead of him.
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