Carpenter's Gothic

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This article is about the William Gaddis novel. For the architectural style, see Carpenter Gothic.
First edition cover

Carpenter's Gothic is the title of the third novel by William Gaddis, published in 1985 by Viking. The title connotes a "Gothic" tale of haunted isolation, in a milieu stripped of all pretensions.

Gaddis's second-shortest novel, Carpenter's Gothic relates the words and occasional actions, in one house, of an ex-soldier, confederate apologist, and pathological liar; his neglected and ineffectual wife; and a visitor with a mysterious past who resembles in many ways Gaddis himself. The book is notable mainly for its strict fugue-like nature, as each character pursues his own themes in conversation and in action, often without reference to anything said or done by the others.

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  • "Finally realize you can't leave things better than you found them the best you can do is try not to leave them any worse . . ." (p. 230)

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