The Inklingby Fred Chappell
This early novel of Chappell's takes sixteen-year-old Jan to where we often try to go-the place where all is right just before it goes wrong. The novel begins and ends with/i>/i>/b>
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The Inkling by Fred Chappell is, says the New York Times, "A work of genuine talent . . . . Chappell writes with power and passion and with flashes of humor."
This early novel of Chappell's takes sixteen-year-old Jan to where we often try to go-the place where all is right just before it goes wrong. The novel begins and ends with Jan's vision in just that place and with his searing pain of ignorance and failure. Chappell gives us characters for tragedy: a mother, bereaved and weak; her two children, a retarded older girl and, in contrast, a bright younger boy deeply frightened by what he perceives as his responsibility to take care of his mother and sister in the absence of his dead soldier father. Uncle Hake, the mother's brother, is the intruder whose admittance stems from an idea of necessity and family decency. It is this outsider, his desires, and death (always the intruder), who tear at the tenuous family bonds of mother, dead father, and starkly contrasted children.
Chappell skillfully and quickly catches us in the artful net of his concept and his lucid and vibrant prose.
Fred Chappell is a past Poet Laureate of the state of North Carolina. Boson Books also offers Dagon, Moments of Light, The Gaudy Place and It Is Time, Lord by Fred Chappell. For an author bio and photo, reviews and a reading sample, visit bosonbooks.com.
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