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Lee Hardcover – August, 1991

5 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this arty first novel, the eponymous protagonist, a relentlessly cynical, misanthropic septuagenarian, returns home to Alabama after some 60 years up North dealing with "children, money, jobs--life's rubbish." Clad in black, with black spectacles, onetime arsonist Lee, who suffers from hemorrhoids and rashes, viciously beats strangers with his cane. When he's not conversing with the wraithlike Judy, a shadowy companion of varying age, he also kicks children who happen to be in his path. Steeped in Greek classics, spouting cultured allusions to such subjects as Persian painting and Dostoyevski, Lee fancies himself a chastiser of humanity, satirist of the New South, a self-ordained Nietzschean prophet of the crumbling of the West. Alas, he's only a reactionary snob. A solipsistic little parable of spiritual self-delusion, the novel starts out interestingly but sinks under the weight of its own pretensions.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Rancorous, arrogant septuagenarian Lee, the eponymous nonhero of Perdue's terse first novel, wanders a bleak mental region where the boundary between reality and delusion is unmarked. He is followed doggedly by a narrator who declines to provide guideposts. Upon returning to Alabama after a 60-year absence, Lee devoted himself to baleful observation, antisocial gestures, and fantasies of using his heavy cane as a deadly weapon. Obsessed with his books, classic and obscure, Lee derives his contempt for people from his conviction of their ignorance and incapacity for thought. As he lurches toward completion, Lee regularly conjures the multiform spirit of his deceased wife, Judy, his sole companion. Hallucinatory and sordid, this discomforting story holds limited appeal. Consider where nontraditional fiction is popular.
- Janet Ingraham, Worthington P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 150 pages
  • Publisher: Four Walls Eight Windows (August 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0941423395
  • ISBN-13: 978-0941423397
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,047,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tito Perdue was born in 1938 in Chile, South America where his father, an Alabama native, was employed as an electrical engineer with the Braden Copper Company. Returning to the United States in 1941, his family settled in Anniston, Alabama, remaining there until his father's employer relocated to St. Louis in 1955. In 1956 Tito graduated from Indian Springs School, a private academy located south of Birmingham, and was admitted to Antioch College in Ohio, an institution from which he was expelled in 1957 for having cohabited off-campus with the former Judy Clark, also an Antioch student. They were married later that year, both at age 18, and are together still. This year at college is the subject of The Sweet-Scented Manuscript, published in 2004 by Baskerville Publishers.

Tito attended the University of Texas in 1957-59 and 1960-61, receiving the B.A. at the end of that period. His daughter Melanie was born in January 1959, in Austin, Texas. During 1959-60, he worked as an assistant bookkeeper in the financial district of New York City. He returned to New York after graduation from the University of Texas and was employed for one year as an insurance underwriter, an experience lovingly described in his novel The New Austerities published in 1994 to very good reviews.

Tito was employed by the University of Iowa Libraries in 1968-70, and then began work as The Social Sciences Bibliographer at Iowa State University, a position held for ten years ending in 1980. He then became Assistant Director of the State University of New York at Binghamton Library and left in 1982 to become Associate Director of Emory University Library. He was discharged from that position in early 1983 as a result of policy disagreements and opted to devote himself full-time thereafter to novel writing.

In 1991 Tito's first published novel Lee was issued by Four Walls Eight Windows, a small press in New York City. The book received favorable reviews in The New York Times and elsewhere, being declared "spellbinding" by The New England Review of Books and "a stunning debut" by The Los Angeles Reader. Among negative reviews, Publishers' Weekly exposed the book as the work of a reactionary snob and revealed that "it sinks under the weight of its own pretensions."

In 1994 his somewhat experimental Opportunities in Alabama Agriculture was published, a story based upon the history of his forebears on his mother's side. Extremely favorable and extended reviews were provided by Thomas Fleming, editor of Chronicles; a Magazine of American Culture, and by columnist Jim Knipfel of The New York Press. In 2007 a paperback edition of Lee was issued by Overlook Press. Tito's most recent novel, Fields of Asphodel also appeared in 2007 from the same publisher.
Tito determined to become a writer as a result of having read the novels of Thomas Wolfe when he was an adolescent. Since that time he has been writing, or preparing to write (or resuscitating), for a period of about fifty years.

Depending upon the weather and the day of the week, Tito admires Orwell, Faulkner, Dostoevsky, Hardy and the nearly-forgotten Ladislas Reymont. Among current American authors, he prefers Larry Brown, William Gay, and Wendell Berry. Tito's taste in music runs to Wagner and Mahler.

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By Donna G. on September 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
In Leeland Pefley, Tito Perdue creates the classic Misanthrope with a Cause. America, Lee perceives, is in a state of decline and degeneration, her population not just unwashed, but uneducated and imbecilic. Lee - a man too well educated (largely SELF-educated by way of his cherished, numerous, stolen books) to endure the idiocy that surrounds him - is recently widowed and wants to leave the planet himself. How Perdue makes this hilarious is a wonder. Though not a fan of violence usually, I laughed out loud as Lee strikes out with his club-like wood walking stick at those he deems too stupid to live.
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Format: Hardcover
If Lee weren't a fictional character, he would have clocked that bird-brained reviewer from Publisher's Weekly who panned this book. LEE is a modern masterpiece, only I'm not sure America deserves it. Buy this book and read it-- it's really hardcore. Buy it for your friends. Watch the movie IDIOCRACY by Mike Judge and then read LEE.
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Format: Hardcover
Maybe--just MAYBE--if you could harness the linguinsic magic of Marquez and Faulkner and Proulx, you might conjure a likeness to Tito Perdue. LEE's attack on the senses is like standing in a storm following a heatwave.
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