The Candles of Your Eyes, and Thirteen Other Stories

James Purdy, Author George Weidenfeld & Nicholson $0 (143p) ISBN 978-1-55584-066-2
This collection of 14 stories from the veteran author of Southern gothics has a delightful freshness and vitality. As usual, Purdy, a superb storyteller, builds from small intimacies. ""Scrap of Paper'' profiles an old woman who constantly fought with her former maid, yet signs a slip of paper absolving the woman of any wrongdoing. A child receives an heirloom watch from his father in ``Short Papa'' and is instructed never to let it out of his sight. Purdy's language is sparse and his stories compressed, focusing on the intensity of the moment. He has a seductive way of drawing the reader into even the most fantastical stories (such as ``Mr. Evening,'' in which a young antique dealer is brought low by greed); we continue to believe in the characters and events. His best work deals with sexual and societal taboos. The title story probes the obsessive love of Soldier, a black man, for Beauty, a white teenager. In ``Some of These Days,'' a homosexual who was imprisoned for beating up his lover haunts porno movie houses in search of the man he calls ``his landlord.'' Purdy is the author of more than 20 books, including the recent In the Hollow of His Hand. (May 1)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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