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The Candles of Your Eyes: And Thirteen Other Stories

The Candles of Your Eyes: And Thirteen Other Stories

by James Purdy

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This collection of 14 stories from the veteran author of Southern gothics has a delightful freshness and vitality. As usual, Purdy, a superb storyteller, builds from small intimacies. ``Scrap of Paper'' profiles an old woman who constantly fought with her former maid, yet signs a slip of paper absolving the woman of any wrongdoing. A child receives an heirloom watch from his father in ``Short Papa'' and is instructed never to let it out of his sight. Purdy's language is sparse and his stories compressed, focusing on the intensity of the moment. He has a seductive way of drawing the reader into even the most fantastical stories (such as ``Mr. Evening,'' in which a young antique dealer is brought low by greed); we continue to believe in the characters and events. His best work deals with sexual and societal taboos. The title story probes the obsessive love of Soldier, a black man, for Beauty, a white teenager. In ``Some of These Days,'' a homosexual who was imprisoned for beating up his lover haunts porno movie houses in search of the man he calls ``his landlord.'' Purdy is the author of more than 20 books, including the recent In the Hollow of His Hand. (May 1)
Library Journal
A mysterious young man who disintegrates under the spell of an avaricious old lady's heirlooms; a romance between a ``retired cannibal'' and a Liberace-esque ``songster''; and a violent orgy of pie-eating and fornication are among the topics of this remarkable collection. In Purdy's world a violent blood-letting is ``like a gentle summer shower'' and a domineering servant proclaims that ``help like I can give is at a high bid today and scarcer than true love.'' Read alongside In the Hollow of His Hand ( LJ 9/1/86), these stories confirm Purdy's true gift for fiction; he uses the short story form to work out the themes of sexual obsession, ecstatic love, and fathomless disillusionment familiar from his novels, but with a brusque, at times cartoonlike execution. A hearty antidote to the Yuppie boredom of most contemporary short fiction. Rob Schmieder, Boston

Product Details

City Lights Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st City Lights Books ed
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 7.92(h) x 0.48(d)

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