FLESH by Gus Weill


Email this review


The shaggiest of shaggy-dog horror stories, by the author of The Fuhrer Seed (1979) and The Bonnet Man (1978). The story: Marion Anderson (with an o), a songwriter at a music college, falls in with sophisticated pianist Justin Caesar, a fellow student of rather fey urbanity and, as it happens, unimaginable wealth. Marion's lyrics fit Justin's spellbinding tunes absolutely splendidly, and so Justin invites Marion to stay with him on the Caesars' impossibly posh private island, where they will whack together a terrific Broadway musical. Marion is overwhelmed when he sees the family estate sitting in sparkling lights atop a leveled-off mountain, the first fairy-tale note in a novel that hopes to tune in to the kind of imagination that wrote Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The story's main theme is enjoined almost immediately: the Caesars--Santa-fat dad and his wife-sister, and their gorgeous daughter Eleanor--are incestuous cannibals. Eleanor's twin sister Annabel Lee, an albino, is a vegetarian--though she loves fellatio. At first the cannibalism is implied, not stated, but the reader knows instantly what's up at the dinner table, especially when the family runs out of meat; then Eleanor's suitor Timothy disappears, and magically food is on the table. Marion keeps to seafood. And that's it, although Weill spells out the details for another 150 pages, until Marion himself is well-fattened for the table. To say more is to say less. Much stuffing, no magic--though semiadolescents may pore over every page.

Pub Date: May 21st, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's