Eustace Chisholm and the Works: A Novel
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"[S]o good that almost any novel you read immediately after it will seem at least a little bit posturing." ―Jonathan Franzen
No James Purdy novel has dazzled contemporary writers more than this haunting tale of unrequited love in an indifferent world. A seedy depression-era boarding house in Chicago plays host to "a game of emotional chairs" (The Guardian) in a novel initially condemned for its frank depiction of abortion, homosexuality, and life on the margins of American society. A cast of characters displaced by economic distress congeal around the embittered poet Eustace Chisholm, who acts as a something of a Greek chorus for the doomed and destructive relationship that is instigated when landlord Daniel Haws falls in love with young college student Amos Ratcliffe. Building to a shocking conclusion, Eustace Chisholm and the Works is a dark and gothic look at the strange and terrible power of love amid a "psychic American landscape of deluded innocence, sexual obsession, violence, and isolation" (William Grimes, New York Times).