Monday, June 20, 2016

Writers’ Lives Reimagined


Credit John Gall
With an Unfinished Tale by Edgar A. Poe
By Norman Lock
223 pp. Bellevue Literary Press, paper, US$16.95.
The third book in Lock’s American Novels series takes a scalpel to Edgar Allan Poe and his fetish for the grotesque underworld of occult phenomena. (The first, “The Boy in His Winter,” reconstructed Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn,” and “American Meteor” fictionalized Walt Whitman’s Civil War America.) Poe is credited with inaugurating the genre of modern detective fiction with stories like “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” written as dialogues between an unnamed narrator and the sleuth C. Auguste Dupin. In a nod to Poe’s paradigm, Lock’s Edward Fenzil recounts to an interlocutor his tormented associations with both Poe and Thomas Dent Mütter, the 19th-century surgeon and connoisseur of gruesome medical specimens.

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