DAVY by Edgar Pangborn


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An ingratiating, post-Bomb-holocaust fantasy, Davy attempts also to be a satire on Church and State in New England. That it succeeds in its true first purpose of being a good story is a measure of its lack of success in giving edge to its wit. Davy himself is a teenage Huck Finn, an orphan born in a church-sanctioned bordello and supported by Welfare till he's fourteen. Unread, promiscuous, ribald in language, he runs away after seducing a girl and killing a town guard, and strikes out to see the world. It is 300 years since the Bomb. New England has invented a second Christ, and the Church rules State. Wolves and tigers, long ago escaped from zoos, roam the forests. Davy steals a French horn from a mue (cast-out mutant) who befriends him in the woods. He discovers his true Pap and they fall in with Rumley's Ramblers, touring entertainers who wagon from stockade to stockade giving lewd shows and a souped-up, 30-minute version of Romeo and Juliet. An interspersed subplot has Davy sailing to the Caribbean (?), helping set up a contrasting heretical government (which flops), and then discovering that his genes produce only mutants. All is built on an apparatus of substitute names (New England -Nuin; Vermont -Vairmant) and is wryly adolescent, full of sexy horseplay, but not cutting. The Holy Murcan Church will survive this jab.

Pub Date: March 9th, 1964
ISBN: 1882968301
Publisher: St Martin's Press