New York: Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, 1960. 1st Edition. Octavo, publisher’s black cloth over olive paper-covered boards, spine stamped in white, upper board blindstamped, cinnamon endpapers, top edge stained yellow, original printed dust jacket.
"My work has been compared to an underground river which is flowing often undetected through the American landscape." Inscribed first edition of fabulist and humorist James Purdy’s second novel. An exploration of identity, home, and small town life in middle America, the narrative revolves around a middle-aged brother and sister tasked with writing the memorial for their recently deceased nephew, who they have just discovered is gay. Praised by such diverse writers as Edward Albee, Paul and Jane Bowles, and Jonathan Franzen (who considers him "one of the most undervalued and underread writers in America"), Purdy gained a wide readership toward the end of his life and career. Dust jacket designed by graphic artist Ronald Clyne, best known for creating over 500 covers for Folkways Records. Inscribed in blue ink to the page listing Purdy's books: "For Ned Stewart / Seven [?] wishes / James Purdy." Light age-toning to textblock; unclipped dust jacket with some rubbing to spine-ends and spine panel. Very good. Item #5167