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Posted August 1, 2001
Douglas Clegg is an author that one can easily become addicted to. He has a rather unique style of writing that slowly lures the reader in with its insight into humanity¿s mixed emotions and with carefully drawn characters that literally reach out for compassion and understanding. There¿s no better example of this than in Mr. Clegg¿s novella, PURITY, which has been printed in a beautifully designed, autographed, limited edition by Cemetery Dance Publications. PURITY is the tragic story of eighteen-year-old Owen Crites, the son of the Montgomery estate¿s gardener and caretaker. The estate is located off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts on Outerbridge Island. Every year, the Montgomery family spends the summer at their estate, bringing their young daughter, Jena, with them. Suffice it to say that Owen has loved Jena with (as Poe would write) a love that is more than a love for many years. Though he comes from a low-to-middle income family, Owen believes that he has a chance to win Jena¿s heart before she goes off to college. He has trained his mind and conditioned his body to make himself more attractive and appealing to her, but is it enough? Owen doesn¿t think so. Years before, at the age of twelve, he found an ancient statue of a god while exploring one of the many caverns on the island. He named the statue Dagon, after the Fish-God of the Philistines from the Bible, and hid it amongst the rocks in a small pond on the estate¿s property, waiting until the time came when he would finally need the ancient God¿s help in acquiring an obtainable goal. When Jena arrives on the island, by way of a sailboat, accompanied by her new boyfriend, Jimmy, our lovelorn teenager realizes that the moment has come to ask Dagon to give him the person of his dreams, no matter what the cost. If he can¿t compete against Jimmy for Jena¿s affections, then he¿ll find another way to win her heart, even if it means murder. Though only 118 pages in length, PURITY is rich in scope as the reader enters the mind of a young man and discovers how painful rejected love can be, more so when your rival is caught making love to the object of your affection. Mr. Clegg brilliantly captures the complexity of emotions that teenagers are filled with. He writes about the purity and innocence of love that only the young can know, while at the same time examining how the structure of marriage can nurture the lack of passion and romance as it does between Owen¿s parents and Jena¿s. Life is seldom easy, or viewed with a clarity that can only come with personal growth and maturity. It is certainly less so when you¿re a teenager with no social standing, trying to win the heart of a wealthy debutante. Subtle, yet poignant, PURITY is a tale that offers a brief glimpse into a world that might have been, reminding us of memories best forgotten, and of a longing that could never be filled. Though different from Douglas Clegg¿s other works and with less supernatural overtones, it nevertheless displays his remarkable talent as a writer and his ability to create characters that are but a reflection of who we are as human beings. The cover design and artwork by Gail Cross on this limited edition is beautiful to behold with its tapestry of greens and gold that perfectly depict the essence of the story and the approaching storm of tragedy about to unfold within. This would definitely make an ideal gift for someone who loves books and is an avid fan of Douglas Clegg.
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Posted April 25, 2013
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