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Yonder Stands Your Orphan

by Barry Hannah

This is a very bleak and violent view of life, but one I could recognise enough to disturb me greatly. There is much hysterical humour in the book which adds to the general feeling of grimness, despite (or because of?) the beauty of the Mississippi swamplands. Not a book I enjoyed, but one which will stay with me for a very long time.

Extract

He rammed the stiletto into Frank Booth's left side. This was the side of the liver, he thought he recalled from a movie. The liver brought quick death. He did not expect it to go in so smoothly. Booth, he thought, was suddenly a cadaver, promptly delivered out of the night. Wet ghoul. Mortimer was up to the hilt in him. He heard the song 'Mack the Knife' in his head. European-like, a jazz killing, so here it was. Or leaving him bad-off wounded.
Booth ... withdrew the knife from his side and then rammed it right back to its owner, his fingers slipping on the blood of the hilt. His mind was on his own nameless grief, but he was not destroyed.

Parallels

Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - the film
 

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