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Out with the Stars
     

Out with the Stars

by James Purdy
 

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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.

Overview


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.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780872862845
Publisher:
City Lights Books
Publication date:
10/28/1993
Edition description:
REISSUE
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.54(w) x 7.94(h) x 0.56(d)

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