Customer Reviews: The Fred Chappell Reader
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on November 5, 1998
This anthology includes the complete novel "Dagon," something of a literary oddity. It's part of a subgenre of horror fiction known as the Cthulhu Mythos, which comprises stories that make use of supernatural elements found in the stories of H.P. Lovecraft--mostly having to do with evil godlike monsters (or monsterlike gods) that ruled the Earth before the dawn of time. "Dagon" takes this premise, twists the genre from supernatural horror to Southern gothic, and presents it with utter psychological realism. The result is shocking and fascinating--sort of like reading a horror comic book written by William Faulkner. I wonder what fans of Southern literature make of "Dagon"--there's a few bits that must be baffling if you've never heard of Lovecraft. But the rest of the book isn't like this at all, so don't be scared off if this doesn't sound like your cup of tea. This is surely the best-written Cthulhu story ever. But few Lovecraft fans will ever find it here, with a generic title and a cover completely devoid of squiggly monsters. (The novel, I should note, has no squiggly monsters either--on the surface. But they're there--oh, boy, are they there.)
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