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What our staff has to say: “James Purdy is one of the most underrated american writers of the last 100 years. His writing is grotesque, funny and heartbreaking, often in the same sentence. In A Shallow Grave shows Purdy in top form. I don’t want to spoil any of the twists and turns, but as I set the book down, I had to step outside to catch my breath. RIYL: the early films of John Waters, Denis Johnson, Flannery O’Connor, a gentle empty feeling” – Cleo
Garnet Montrose returns home from Vietnam to small-town Virginia with injuries so terrible that people become ill at the sight of him. Seeking assistance and companionship in his isolation, Garnet hires two young male caretakers, Quintus and Daventry. His interest and curiosity are awakened by the books Quintus reads to him, but in the handsome Daventry he finds a powerful, transformative love unlike anything he has experienced before. In this story of the strange, moving relationship of these three men, by turns Gothic, mystical and grotesque, James Purdy has crafted one of his most memorable novels.
Widely acclaimed by critics during his lifetime and championed by writers as diverse as Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, and Jonathan Franzen, James Purdy (1914-2009) is now being rediscovered as a major figure in modern American literature. This long-awaited reissue of one of his finest works, In a Shallow Grave (1975), features a new introduction by Andrew Schenker, who argues that Purdy “provides a reading experience that is deeper, weirder, and ultimately more satisfying than the offerings of just about any other American novelist.”