Gore Vidal’s recent feature profile of James Purdy in the Sunday New York Times Book Review signaled the long overdue arrival of a major literary cult hero into the American canon. Purdy’s exquisitely surreal fiction has been populated for more than 40 years by social outcasts living in crisis and longing for love. However, Purdy was also among the first novelists to incorporate transgressive renderings of gay life into his work, including unapologetic, sexually explicit material. Narrow Rooms—his 1978 classic that ranks among his most masterful novels—is a passionate and sometimes bloody love story about adolescent obsession and revenge.
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