Out with the Stars


Following the discovery of an anonymous libretto, a composer comes out of retirement to write an opera based on the life of the infamous novelist-turned-photographer Cyril Vane. A dazzling novel by one of America’s most underrated writers.

Read More Show Less
... See more details below
BN.com price
(Save 24%)$15.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (5) from $14.13   
  • New (3) from $14.12   
  • Used (2) from $58.60   
Sending request ...


Following the discovery of an anonymous libretto, a composer comes out of retirement to write an opera based on the life of the infamous novelist-turned-photographer Cyril Vane. A dazzling novel by one of America’s most underrated writers.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Purdy's trademark blend of high camp, bizarre characters, outrageous satire and piercing realism animates this offbeat romp. Over-the-hill composer Abner Blossom resolves to write an opera based on the lives of Cyril Vane, bisexual risque photographer of Harlem blacks, and his harpy Russian-born wife Olga Petrovna, a faded silent-screen star who claims to be a relative of the Romanovs. This odd couple, determined to suppress the truth about their lives, attempt to squelch Blossom's opera, Cock Crow , whose Brooklyn premiere climaxes a narrative that involves a scandalous funeral with hired mourners, a sleepwalker's suicide, a swarthy Sicilian youth who levitates and several gay love affairs. The colorful cast here includes Kentucky-born songwriter Val Sturgis, who is Blossom's obsequious protege, and former screen idol Francis X. Beauregard, who fills his 40-room mansion with servile young men. While Purdy ( Mourners Below ) satirizes avant-garde artiness and America's obsession with celebrities, he displays affectionate sympathy for his comic characters. (Sept.)
Library Journal
In this dazzling gothic comedy, one of our greatest writers tells the story of Abner Blossom, loosely based on composer Virgil Thomson, who is busy creating an opera about Cyril Vane--who's even more loosely created from the life of Carl van Vechten, the writer and photographer best remembered for his photographs of African American artists during the Harlem Renaissance. The opera is sure to be a scandal; it will reveal Vane's sexual obsessions with many of his male subjects. Vane's widow, silent screen star Olga Petrovna, is doing everything to block its production. Interspersed are half a dozen other stories, like that of Val Sturgis, Blossom's protege and a classic Purdy lost waif, who gets involved in one tragic gay love affair after another, each more gleefully mawkish than the last. Even while confronting and conflating racial and sexual stereotypes, Purdy has never been funnier. Recommended for larger collections.-- Brian Kenney, Brooklyn P . L.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780720608618
  • Publisher: Owen, Peter Limited
  • Publication date: 8/28/1997
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)