In A Shallow Grave


”I think that often the statement 
“Everything we do is wrong” is 
pressed on the tombstone of 
humanity.  The little good that 
comes out of our lives is so small 
compared with the terrible mistakes 
we make.  We’re so bewildered and 
harassed by our lives and what’s 
going on around us, it’s a wonder 
we do anything right.”—James Purdy

Lane: A lot of your characters are on boats that are sinking.
Purdy: Almost all of them. I think humanity is always on a 
sinking ship. . . . 
Lane: Is there a fascination for you about this sinking?
Purdy: I’m certainly concerned because it’s everywhere. . . . 

Christopher Lane, “Out with James Purdy: An Interview,” 
Studies in Contemporary Fiction, Vol. 40, No. 1 (1998), 

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