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Cabot Wright Begins

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  126 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Cabot Wright is a handsome, Yale-educated stockbroker and scion of a good family. He also happens to be the convicted rapist of nearly three hundred women. Bernie Gladhart is a naive used-car salesman from Chicago, who—spurred on by his ambitious wife—decides to travel to Brooklyn and write the Great American Novel about the recently paroled Cabot Wright. As Bernie tries t ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 22nd 2013 by Liveright (first published 1964)
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3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  126 ratings  ·  22 reviews


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Vit Babenco
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are great novels. And there are popular novels. And they are worlds apart. Cabot Wright Begins is a great novel so it can’t be popular.
To hell with the smarmy political correctness!
“It may be good business to hire cripples and copulate with Negroes, but by God, Cabot laddie, you and I know better.”

Cabot Wright Begins isn't for hypocrites and sycophants.
Conformity and consumerism anaesthetise society making it deaf and blind and turning human beings into an obedient herd.
The book is sad and
...more
BlackOxford
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: american
Viruses Are Top of the Food Chain

Nothing preys on viruses. They float around, like stardust (perhaps they are stardust), without need for defensive weapons waiting patiently for a warm-blooded host. Finding a comfy place in lung or brain or other vital organ, they are almost impossible to dislodge. Excessive heat might slow their progress so fever sets in until the immune system belatedly awakes to the alien onslaught. Then they provoke a sneeze and find something else to feed on. The motiveless
...more
Gerhard
Jun 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
James Purdy gives true expression to the phrase ‘certified genius’, in the dual sense of being iconoclastic as well as possibly bug-fuck insane. Meeting Cabot Wright is one of the weirdest things I have ever read. It is one of those insidious reading experiences that seem to make little sense while you are in the active process of assimilating the text, but which then proceeds to seep into your consciousness.

If you like genre fiction in any form – from SF to New Weird and plain old vanilla horro
...more
Alex Sarll
I first encountered James Purdy by way of a recent Guardian piece headlined "'I'm not a gay writer, I'm a monster': how James Purdy outraged America". And the notion of this outlandish cult figure, his ashes buried next to Edith Sitwell, was irresistible. Where to start on his work? Well, obviously with the book which started his trajectory to outcast status, the one which “was condescendingly reviewed by the pew-warmers of the local think tanks. [It] was not about a rapist but about people that ...more
Daniel Krolik
Apr 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is dangerous, insane, and batshit crazy writing from an author I didn't know existed up until a month ago, and I am so glad I found him. Like an acid tinged Mad Men or Revolutionary Road, Purdy takes on the hypocrisies of mainstream, wealthy urban America circa 1964, and exposes the anger festering underneath. Cabot Wright Begins is totally ahead of its time and hasn't dated itself or lost its power to shock one bit. Purdy creates an almost endearing and sympathetic title character, which i ...more
EMM
Jul 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book by James Purdy that I did not fully enjoy reading. Getting through this one was kind of an ordeal. I was asking when this mess was going to end. In terms of pace, it’s less of a crazy ride. The first part of the book especially seems like Purdy at half speed. Would it be wrong of me to say that for the first 6 chapters I was waiting for this novel to begin? When it finally does begin, it's in the form of a book within a book. In part, this section takes on the blurring of ...more
Mike
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The back half of this book is the funniest Purdy I'd ever read, hands-down. This is clearly hard to expect from such a demented plot that is so loaded with always-topical hot-button topics like the bleak literary landscape, white male privilege both on Wall Street and in the bedroom, a certain paternalistic relationship a rich elderly white woman has with her black servants, the anger-mongering contraption we call a television, and much, much more. It's not a particularly gay book by Purdy stand ...more
Tony
Aug 19, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Considered by some to be one of the greatest post-war American novels. As with many of Purdy's novels, it concerns itself with the act of writing itself and how reality is fabricated in the novel. Cabot Wright the central character is a serial rapist newly released from prison.The book concerns an attempt to make a best selling novel from his story. To 'write the truth like fiction' as one of the characters says.

In one crucial scene Cabot Wright describes his unfurnished room unfurnished room.
...more
Kobe Bryant
Dec 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Should have stuck with Bernie
Evan
Jul 30, 2013 rated it liked it
"Dial just anywhere at present, call up California or London or Nice and say, 'I hadn't a minute to pick up the inkwell. How are you?' Half-listen to this and that, and goodbye again. So miraculous and yet so unsatisfying, so spooky-unreal to hear people's live voices when you know you'll never see them alive again if you both live to be 200. It's already like talking to the River Styx."

"Where's the keenest place you can hurt a man? Not in his eye or groin, but where he can't remember."

"By Georg
...more
Nick Eilts
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
The story of a serial rapist... well, hardly. It's the story of getting the story of a semi-amnesiac, Svengali rapist who has repressed or misplaced the details. There's a host of character/narrators, all hopelessly flawed, who walk us through seedy, NYC hotels, through Wall Street, and even through the affluent suburbs of Chicago. To be honest, the pacing of the book was tedious and, in the end, there wasn't much reward for my attention.
Jennifer creelman
Sep 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fall-2013
wow. there are sentences strung together in this novel that Martin Amis would kill to have written. Not since London Fields have I been so joyfully confused. A bunch of unlikable characters including a rapist, a publisher, a writer, and a used car salesman.... and the rapist is most endearing. A book every American should read but most likely can't get through.(less)
Djrmel
Mar 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, glbt
This was Purdy's first full length novel to be published, and a lot of the themes that would be examined in greater detail in later books are jammed into this story about the people involved in getting a book about a convicted rapist published. It's Purdy's characters that keep this from being a total wallow in cynicism - they're the extremes of humanity.
Seth
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my 5 favorite novels of all time. Equal parts Flannery O'Connor, Roald Dahl, and John Waters. Hilarious, dark satire of midcentury American culture, of publishing, of sexual mores -- of everything. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
Tammy Downing
I didn't really care for this book about a man, who encouraged by his wife, goes to New York to write the story of a serial rapist. Parts of it were very interesting but it was very confusing at time.
Matt Walker
Of all the comic novels about serial rapists I've read, this is one of the better ones.
Stephen
Jul 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
Dear god, Purdy is merciless.
Nora Vasilescu
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Multilayered, elaborate satire. From the exceptional handling of the cultural quote to the absurdly theatrically constructed dialogues. From the extricate combination of clichee-istic characters to the big structure of a novel in a novel in a novel including even their own critique.
N.B. It”s not anti-political correctness unless you’re a neo-neo-protestant blue-nose. Read Brukner&Houllebecq for that.
David
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a strange book. I almost don’t k ow what to think of it, if I in fact do. The attitude from multiple characters, the nonchalance, to the rapes is frightening. Though, I think it is supposed to be. However, it’s difficult to be certain. Well written, but disturbing.
Tim
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hallucinatory and timeless
ua
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May 31, 2017
Steven
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Sep 14, 2017
Bob
rated it it was amazing
Nov 17, 2013
Michael Snyder
rated it really liked it
Jul 26, 2015
Michael Snyder
rated it it was amazing
Dec 10, 2012
David Joyner
rated it it was ok
Feb 18, 2017
M
rated it it was ok
May 06, 2019
Nick Leither
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Weird, funny, disturbing, satirical...
Muumuu House
rated it it was amazing
Dec 07, 2013
Joe Stanek
rated it liked it
May 16, 2016
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James Otis Purdy (July 17, 1914 – March 13, 2009) was an American novelist, short-story writer, poet, and playwright who, since his debut in 1956, published over a dozen novels, and many collections of poetry, short stories, and plays. His work has been translated into more than 30 languages and in 2013 his short stories were collected in The Complete Short Stories of James Purdy.
James Purdy's "da
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“Most books don’t even come into the world with the noise of the still-born.” 3 likes
“Great books, if long enough and full of topical description and contemporary comment, were now coming into even wider public favor. The lengthier and fuller of comment, the better.” 1 likes
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