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The Book of the Dun Cow Paperback – August 14, 2003
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About the Author
Walter Wangerin Jr. is the National Book Award-winning author of The Book of the Dun Cow. His other books include The Book of God, Ragman and Other Cries of Faith, and Miz Lil and the Chronicles of Grace.
WangerinÕs allegory of good and evil pits Chauntecleer, the mighty rooster, against the nefarious and serpentine Wyrm. In a time before humans, Chauntecleer is the only one who stands in the way of Wyrm as it breaks free from its earthly prison and enacts its devious influence upon the innocent animals of the world. WangerinÕs prose proves enjoyable despite a heavy-handed religious overtone. Paul Michael enlivens the text with a deep, robust voice that keeps a good pace. He does justice to the verbose and powerful persona of Chauntecleer. However, inexplicably, he adds a Southern twang to many of the charactersÕ speaking parts, which does not seem to be justified by the text. L.E. © AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This world is different than the one we know. It is filled with talking animals. The animals live on the surface of the earth and one creature lives within. The evil creature is named “Wyrm,” a massive dreadful serpent; “He was angry. And he hated, with an abiding hatred, the God who had locked him within the earth. And what put the edge upon his hatred, what made it an everlasting acid inside of him, was the knowledge that God had given the key his prison in this bottomless pit to a pack of chattering animals.” (p. 23-24) The animals are the keepers and there are only a few which maintain a lord/leadership status. Chauntecleer the rooster, one of the main characters (lord) and heroes of the story, knew nothing about Wyrm. No animal had knowledge of Wyrm.
But Pertelope has a secret. She knows that far away in another coop, evil has been born in the form of Cockatrice, a flying serpent with a cock's head. Cocktrice, a manifestation of the ultimate evil that is Wyrm, has begot innumerable offspring of his own, and they can kill with a single bite.
Cocktrice and his minions advance on Chauntecleer's Coop, and the battle between good and evil begins. Chauntecleer feels the advance in his bones. He encounters a dun cow, but she speaks only to Mundo Cani Dog.
Chauntecleer, although outmatched, successfully battles Cocktrice and kills him. The battle surges on, but goodness and virtue triumph, although at great cost. Dog himself dispatches Wyrm with one of the dun cow's horns. Curiously, the dun cow of the title plays a rather small role in the great struggle. She counsels the dog about his upcoming fight with Wyrm, but her only participation is to provide the horn with which he gouges Wyrm's eye.
How to categorize such a work? The author's use of animals to wage an epic battle suggests a fable, while the classic good/evil clash has an allegorical bent, although the author, in his notes, insists that the work not be regarded as an allegory.
Whatever, it's a highly entertaining tale full of memorable characters.