There are books that entertain and those that amuse, some shock and some amaze. This book grabs your core and swings it around the room until all the things you'd previously thought have to be revisited. It's, quite simply, a masterpiece and will knock your socks off.
Written in 1901 it has a tremendous gravitas that only writing of that era seems to own, it manages to be knowing and innocent and never fails to hit home with every magnificent, engrossing turn of the plot. The only danger is that the reader spends more time pondering what he would do in the circumstances described rather than concentrating on the book. It is rare that you finish a book and your main motive is to find a quiet corner and re-read it, but that's what the Purple Cloud will do to you. A dark, unforgiving, magestic masterpiece that puts the flimsy, gimmicky modern writers to shame. Buy it, read it, recommend it.