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Tito Perdue

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Lee
by Tito Perdue   

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Books by Tito Perdue
· Opportunities in Alabama Agriculture
· The Sweet-Scented Manuscript
· Fields of Asphodel
· The New Austerities
                >> View all

Category: 

Literary Fiction

Publisher:  Four Walls Eight Windows ISBN-10:  0941423395 Type: 
Pages: 

145

Copyright:  1991
Fiction

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An old man returns to his hometown and, dismayed at late 20th-century decadence, proceeds to punish some of the more egregious exemplars. He has the psychic ability to materialize his late beloved wife, the divine Judy, who appears in this author's other novels as well.

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Excerpt

More and more these days his thoughts were turning toward collecting together the good people and setting up a new-age monastery to be given over to agriculture and books. All his life he had wanted to be in the position of abbot and to have the authority to see to it that people lived out his theories instead of their own. Indeed, he had already laid out in imagination the fields, sheepfold, and the bee glade where Judy would hold sway. And book hoard, he would have the most amazing book hoard filled with the most amazing dark books...

... he could not honestly say he was not dreaming. His one great dread was that the sun with its famous warmth might come and bring him back to earth again.



Professional Reviews

A Lost Art
Readers first met Lee Pefley as an old man who returns to his hometown resolved to chastise public nuisances with a stick. Tito Perdue's first novel, Lee (1991), took some reviewers by surprise: the elegantly crafted naivete seemed to strike a balance between Borges and (to my mind) Kenneth Patchen. What some of them seemed to miss is the obvious fact that Lee was the most reactionary fictional hero since Ignatius in John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces. Like Ignatius, Lee is a reader of old books but not the Latin fathers. It is the Greeks who inspired Lee with a vision of what human life might be like if we ever concentrated on growing finer instead of more human beings. Lee's historical model is the Spartan king who in old age went through the streets beating the people he met - a terrible offense in a society where only slaves, not free men, may be beaten. What Lee has grasped (and so few of us seem to know) is that most Americans in the 1990s are slaves by choice and deserve no better treatment... (From Tom Fleming's three page review in the December, 1996 issue of CHRONICLES MAGAZINE.)

Fiction Reviews
Lee, the protagonist of this first novel by Tito Perdue, is a fiercely misanthropic septuagenerian whose main characteristics are his love of Greek literature and his utter revulsion at other human beings... Its language is vitriolic and hallucinatory, yet surprisingly lucid, producing a portrait both exceedingly strange and troubling. (From a New York Times Book Review of November 24, 1991.)

Lee
In this, his first novel, Tito Perdue has managed to pull off the unthinkable - to take a character's rage and hatred and turn them into qualities that are, if not exactly worth our admiration, certainly due our respect... Written in a hallucinogenic, fragmentary style that bears comparison to Beckett and Faulkner, Lee is a stunning debut, an insistent eulogy for the intellect in these slack-eyed days of ignorance and bliss. (From a review in the Los Angeles Reader of Sept. 6, 1991.)


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