Monday, Sept. 23, 2013
The Complete Short Stories (W. W. Norton), by James Purdy
James Purdy speaks through his 2013 collection in stories where beautiful boys cruise shadowy parks and death seems preferable to life. In perhaps the creepiest introduction ever, John Waters advises us to think of the book as a “ten-pound box of poison chocolates you keep beside your bed—fairy tales for your twisted mind…” Purdy lived long enough (1914-2009) to break his hip and expire, but not before teaching Spanish for a decade at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., and prowling the dark side with Wisconsin’s magic realists, artists John Wilde and Karl Priebe. His stories are a descent into Hell, but what a trip.