Dagonby Fred Chappell
Regularly cited in lists of the world's best horror novels, Dagon tells the story of Peter Leland whose ancestral secrets emerge to plunge him into a world of terror and degradation. Employing the Mythos developed by America's great fantasist, H. P. Lovecraft, this novel transforms traditional Gothic elements into an intense, scarifying, modern work.
An international bestseller, Dagon was awarded the Best Foreign Book prize by the French Academy and has ignited spirited debate about its revolutionary approach to its materials. Readers have been known to keep their house lights burning all night while reading this story.
"I am honestly convinced that Fred Chappell is one of the finest writers of this time, one of the rare and precious few who are truly 'major.'" - George Garrett, author of Death Of The Fox and The Succession.
Author of thirty volumes of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, Fred Chappell has twice won World Fantasy Awards, has appeared in over fifty anthologies, and has gathered some dozen or so literary prizes including Poet Laureate of the state of North Carolina. Retired after forty years of university teaching, he lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, and worships cats.
The first refreshing thing about Chappell is that he knows how to tell a story. The second is that he doesn't pretend to be doing anything else. Ostensibly, the central character here is Granny Sorrells, an elderly North Carolina hillbilly on her deathbed. Granny is surrounded by her kinfolk, but we more or less lose track of her as a character once her grandson Jess starts to reminisce about Granny's stories of the local women she spent most of her life with. We thus learn about "The Shooting Woman," who seduced her husband with her marksmanship; "The Figuring Woman," who became the village soothsayer; "The Madwoman," who lost her wits after an unhappy affair, and so on. Although this concentration on strong, self-reliant backwoods girls brings the novel perilously close to self-parody at times, Chappell is able to provide enough color and credibility to the (easily recognizable) types he works with to rescue them from stereotype, and the old-fashioned and very formal device of giving us a narrator who stands largely outside the action of the tale works nicely to bring us into what ordinarily would be a very strange and disorienting world. To a large degree Chappell, like most regionalists, is attempting to re- create an entire society, and the success with which he does so gives his characters an uncommon depth and texture. Although his rhetoric can get a bit overblown, it usually supports the action and fits the characters.
Busy, satisfying, and wholesome: Chappell casts a sharp eye upon a very rich landscape and gives us a portrait as poignant as it is clear.
- Bitingduck Press
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- 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.50(d)
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