Having spent a few days with the author in his native Alabama, I decided it was high time to tackle his best-known work: Lee. Lee was, apparently, originally to be titled, The Book of Lee, and it was the first of Perdue’s books to be published (in 1991), though not the first to be written. Not long after publication, a Publisher’s Weekly reviewer wrinkled his nose at Perdue, and pronounced him ‘a reactionary snob’. It seems Perdue always looked forward to being a cantankerous misanthrope in his seventies, because in this novel his alter ego, Leland Pefley, Lee, is a cantankerous misanthrope in his seventies. Now 73, with menacingly cantilevered black eyebrows, Perdue must be loving every minute of the . . .