The Corruption Of Zachary R.

The Corruption Of Zachary R.

by Douglas Richardson
     
 
Madmen are not born mad. They are driven mad. Terrible events corrupt them and lead their minds into alternate realities, alternate worlds.

The Corruption of Zachary R. is about such a man.

Raised by a neurotic mother tortured by vicious nightmares, and an emotionally distant, chess-obsessed father, Zachary R. sets off on his own after high school. He meets a girl

Overview

Madmen are not born mad. They are driven mad. Terrible events corrupt them and lead their minds into alternate realities, alternate worlds.

The Corruption of Zachary R. is about such a man.

Raised by a neurotic mother tortured by vicious nightmares, and an emotionally distant, chess-obsessed father, Zachary R. sets off on his own after high school. He meets a girl in his apartment building and has a daughter with her. Forced to contend with betrayal and the mounting tragedies in his life, and compelled to accept his failed dreams, single parenthood, and a mundane job, Zachary R. succumbs to insanity.

His daughter is left alone. What does her future hold? What will become of her father?

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Discoveries
A jumpy, bare-bones plunge into the vortex of one man's madness. In staccato chapters dealt out like a deck of cards-snappy, latent, repeating-Richardson tracks Zachary R.'s descent into psychosis. It is not a combustible event, but rather quotidian, and its very everydayness makes it especially creepy and troubling. Richardson explores the faults and folds of Zachary's life-his father's obsession with chess, his mother's comic-but-for-its-ramifications death, the concussive darkness of his marriage, his daughter's colorful waywardness-in writing that has the elemental quality and dreamy, out-of-body remoteness of black-and-white photography. The author frequently makes forays into an experimental tone, as if tasting the words-"She returned home like scurvy over anemia" or "the private nature of file clerks." Though Richardson keeps a tight rein on his metaphors, an occasional hackneyed "reverent as stained glass at dawn" also crops up. Repetition is a powerful leitmotif in the author's arsenal-"He considered the definition of insanity: 'to do the same thing over and over and expect different results.' "-and he deploys it with a Hitchcockian fatality. He introduces Zachary's madness and then circles back to introduce it again. Diverting customers appear and reappear to usher Zachary toward his rewards, talismanic elements hit the reader like doomful claps of thunder-brass knuckles, chess pieces, rivers and women. Richardson tenders characters that, due to the story's brevity and swiftness, are quickly sympathetic and pack a compressed punch. It is not much of a stretch to identify with Zachary's helpless gibbering, and his masochistic wife ("she received her beating, which made herwhirl and pop") is plain unnerving. Episodes of bleak humor lighten Zachary's passage-a snail crawling the grounds of the asylum speaks to the patients, "but would do so selectively so as not to worsen their already fragile psyches." Still, this Mobius strip of misery will inevitably take a detour to Zachary's oblivion. An artful, beguiling voyage to a place no one wants to go.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780984242412
Publisher:
Weak Creature Press
Publication date:
09/23/2009
Pages:
318
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.67(d)

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