The narrator is Chappy, a pedophile who's been locked up in Sing Sing for 23 years for the rape and decapitation of 12-year-old Alice. The tale alternates between Chappy's own story (both outside and inside of prison), and letters he receives from a 19-year-old girl who knows of Alice's fate and wants to start playing with 12-year-old boys. The girl's letters disturb Chappy, bringing his memories vividly to the fore. In prose that is both lyrical and horrifyingly direct, A.M. "Amy" Homes takes us into the minds of the correspondents. Chappy is bright, analytical, and reminiscent of Nabokov in the way he talks about his "Lolita." But the sex is graphic and often bizarre, and the author's tone is chilly, so it's not a book to be picked up lightly. As Daphne Merkin
writes in the New York Times
, it's a "splashy, not particularly likable book whose best moments are quietly observed and whose underlying themes are more serious than prurient."
From Library Journal
In this deeply disturbing novel, Homes (In a Country of Mothers, LJ 8/93) seems to be attempting to create as repulsive a protagonist as possible-a nameless pedophile serving his 23rd year at Sing Sing. Alongside his narrative is the tale of a 19-year-old college coed obsessed by a preteen boy. A large part of the novel centers on the half-real, half-imagined ties that develop between the convict and the college student as a result of her increasingly graphic letters to him. The rest is a reminiscence of his affair with a 12-year-old seductress named Alice that ends in her gruesome murder. Deliberately shocking and confrontational, Homes's purpose seems to be to force the reader into a kind of Dostoevskian identification with the blackest and most perverse elements of human nature. An optional purchase for larger libraries.Lawrence Rungren, Bedford Free P.L., Mass.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.