The Tents of Wickedness

The Tents of Wickedness

Number of page: 279
Author: Peter De Vries
Publisher: Open Road Media
Category: Fiction

A masterwork of literary parody about a suburban Samaritan and the poet he seeks to inspire After the wild adventures of Comfort Me with Apples, Chick Swallow has found domestic peace in Decency, Connecticut, accepting his fate as a middle-class husband and father and the author of an advice column in the local newspaper. His hard-won contentment is about to disappear like warm water down a bathtub drain, however, when fate intervenes to reunite our hero with Sweetie Appleyard, a childhood playmate with whom he once shared an intimate moment in a coal bin. All these years later, Sweetie is just as devoted to art and allergic to the real world as she always was. In an effort to bring Sweetie out of her treehouse and urge her on with her life, Chick helps to get a book of her poetry published. But his plan backfires hilariously when Sweetie, with stunning alacrity, becomes the toast of Greenwich Village, tires of the up-all-night bohemian life, and decides that she wants to be a mother. For the father, she has two possibilities in mind: her literary patron or his brother-in-law, Nickie Sherman. To save his sister’s marriage, Chick will risk his own and pray that, for once, he can keep everything under control. With a stylistic ingenuity unmatched in modern American fiction, De Vries parodies a dozen different writers in this boisterous tale of New England angst. William Faulkner, Theodore Dreiser, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Marcel Proust, Emily Dickinson, and Dylan Thomas all make uproarious appearances in The Tents of Wickedness as it gleefully skewers pretensions of every stripe. 

About The Author

Peter De Vries (1910–1993) was born in Chicago to Dutch immigrant parents. His father wanted him to join the clergy, but after attending Calvin College and Northwestern University, De Vries found work as a vending-machine operator, a toffee-apple salesman, a radio actor, and an editor atPoetrymagazine. His friend and mentor James Thurber brought him to the attention of theNew Yorker, and in 1944 De Vries moved to New York to become a regular staff contributor to the magazine, where he worked for the next forty years.

A prolific author of novels, short stories, parodies, poetry, and essays, he published twenty-seven books during his lifetime and was heralded by Kingsley Amis as the “funniest serious writer to be found either side of the Atlantic.” De Vries was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1983, taking his place alongside Mark Twain, Dorothy Parker, and S. J. Perelman as one of the nation’s greatest wits.