Eddie Watkins's Reviews > Eustace Chisholm and the Works

Eustace Chisholm and the Works by James Purdy
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Oct 08, 2014

really liked it
bookshelves: american-fiction

I read this a while ago, along with just about all of Purdy's other novels. I don't know why he's not better known, though I suspect he has a devoted following somewhere. I think he's an American treasure.

The copy of this I have is part of a series called Gay Modern Classics and has a homoerotic painting by Paul Cadmus on the cover. I don't think of it as a "gay novel" but the fact that it had to be so pigeon-holed to be republished says something about Purdy's reputation among the literary establishment.

My memories from it are of a vividly depicted rag-tag bunch of artists and artist-types, led by a poet, who hang out in a rundown apartment in depression-era Chicago. There's also an excruciating depiction of a clandestine abortion administered by a large black man. As I remember the book basically revolves around a tortured love story.
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05/08 marked as: read

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