PARK: A Fantastic Story by John Gray

PARK: A Fantastic Story

Email this review


Gray (1866-1934) was an oddball: an 1890s decadent poet, a Wilde crony (he may have been the original ""Dorian"" Gray), later a Catholic convert and parish priest in a tough slum neighborhood. And this brief 1932 oddment--though earnest, fractured, disconcerting, spasmodic, and often desperately hard to follow--is not without a certain enigmatic appeal. Between one step and the next, priest Mungo Park (namesake, significantly, of the 18th-century African explorer) is transported into a future where England has been occupied by a race of blacks, the Wapami--highly civilized, deeply religious, artistic, humane. Meanwhile, the original whites have become rat-like degenerates banished, like Wells' Morlocks, far underground. But, while Park is well received by the Wapami higher-ups, declared officially ""dead"" (a rank that grants him certain privileges), he's unable to exercise his priestly functions--a source of much pain to him. And, despite being impressed as he learns more about Wapami civilization, Park finds hints that all is not as serene as it appears; he becomes more and more disturbed. . . and then wakes up back in his own time. Interpretation, then, will depend largely on the reader. But there's interesting material here--if you don't mind tagging along with someone else's pipe-dreams.

Pub Date: March 20th, 1985
Publisher: Carcanet--dist. by Harper & Row