DAGON by Fred Chappell


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This is the third (The Inkling: It Is Time, Lord) of Mr. Chappell's murky but hardly obscure Greco-Southern Gothic tales. The symbolism is so overt that it can only be considered as parallelism and the snake has not been treated so reverentially since Freud (along with a pump handle). To a musty, dusty home place in the south, returns Peter Leland, a preacher, glumly obsessed by the legend of Dagon (the maimed martyr -- only a stump) who apotheosizes for him the crippled sexuality of the times. Peter goes up to the attic where there are old instruments of forture, makes his descent down to Avernus -- killing his wife (the only cheerful note in the book) and submitting, drunkenly, to the sluttish daughter of a tenant farmer who multilates him (with a tattoo needle) all over. . . . Mr. Chappell's explicit imagery inclines toward turbidity and certainly tautology; in cirea two pages--""grayish smear,"" ""gray light,"" ""gray tin roof,"" ""gray in the gray light"" and ""gray face.

Pub Date: Aug. 7th, 1968
ISBN: 0917990943
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & world