One of the best reviews yet by my knowledgeable, insightful, able-to-extract-the-essence husband, Jim Booth.
In an earlier review of books from my 2013 reading list, I looked at poetry by one of North Carolina’s best writers, Fred Chappell. This next installment looks at one of his finest novels, the poetic and (one guesses) semi-autobiographical Brighten the Corner Where You Are.
In a way, to call this work a novel is to debase it. Chappell is clearly a meistersinger (in the best, literal meaning of that word). This work of fiction/prose-poetry reads in the same way that any epic or, as in this case, mock-epic does to a knowledgeable reader: as if the tales (and make no mistake; these are tales in the same sense that the various episodes of The Odyssey are individual tales that tell a greater story) are being chanted to the accompaniment of a strummed lyre – though in this case a strummed dulcimer would be more appropriate.
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