A FOUR-LEGGED DUCK by Frederic Clark


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We'll say this for the title. It's appropriate because this isn't a book, it's a creature. And it has a certain terrifying substance because the characters are so seemingly human. There's Nathaniel Davy, a young sculptor who flies on pot and believes only in pleasure...impulse kicks. He casually remarks at a cocktail party that the ultimate in thrills would be to (a) commit murder and (b) seduce a country virgin and then put her on the streets to whore for him. When he gets to Rome he does, on impulse, kill...then takes an ear as a souvenir. Then he meets Adriana, a young untouched Sicilian girl who has unwillingly led a sheltered life studying to be a concert pianist. Thrill number two is put into motion. Meanwhile there's Warren Mueller who drifts in the same underworld on the Via Veneto. Warren is a frustrated playwright reduced to dubbing scripts into English. One night he dreams that he kills his fat wife. When he wakes up the next morning he discovers that he has and with the playful curiosity of a cat toying with a dead mouse, performs as a vividsectionist in a revolting fashion. The point is that it's moral to be amoral but it's ""Certainly a strange cool,"" and although Mr Clark is an able writer, the notion is hardly a provocative one. The sensationalism will define the audience.

Pub Date: Jan. 31st, 1967
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill