THE PARTY AT MRS. PUREFOY'S by Ward Dorrance

THE PARTY AT MRS. PUREFOY'S

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An Original and peculiar first novel, in which Biblical allegory, that in the end shatters the elusive delicacy, never clouds completely the luminosity of some imaginative devices. This inventive fable concerns the last days--or is it hours?--(Mr. Dorrance's Time expands and contracts with metabolic relevance) of an elderly Southern gentleman. Alfred Armiger had apparently muddled through two worlds, one of bankers and accountants and seven sisters, and one of spirituality, where chivalry in the form of loving, serving and following ladies was as true and beautiful as a spring morning. At the time of a raging flood Alfred receives an odd telegram from one Cecilia. Niece of the deceased Mrs. Purefoy, Cecilia, in her inherited mansion with the flood waters rising, is seemingly endangered. Alfred sets out on his difficult journey, in taxis, in a clanking train, through gathering waters, and on the way confronts his ladies in times past and present--the marvelous, radiant Mrs. Purefoy who encouraged him to suffer for love of her; Mother; an ungainly girl who also received the benisons of Mrs. Purefoy; and the exciting raw-boned lady evangelist wont to perch on precipices over rolling mists. At last Alfred enters the mansion, a Gomorrah afloat, and torn by the harpy that Cecilia has become, reaches his own death and salvation. It all seems to happen ""within the watery wall of a waterdrop,"" a magical and special confinement.

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 1969
Publisher: Delacorte