Coleman Dowell's "Southern Gothic" is a novel about sexual repression. Miss Ethel, a spinster school teacher, decides to write what she calls a "perverse tale" about one of her former students, a Kentucky farmer named Jim Cummins. Endowing him with unnaturally large genitals, she spins a tawdry tale of his frustrated relationship with his petite wife. Expressing all the bitterness of "an old woman's revenge," Miss Ethel's tale is nonetheless a sensitive depiction of rural life in the early years of World War II.
Dowell's masterful use of the tale-within-a-tale to explore psychological states makes "Too Much Flesh and Jabez" a memorable achievement.
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Coleman Dowell's hilarious, beautiful 1977 "Southern Gothic" tells the story of a spinster schoolteacher who decides to write a "perverse tale" about one of her former students, a Kentucky farmer named Jim, endowing him with unnaturally large genitals. Miss Ethel's tawdry tale of Jim's frustrated relationship with his petite wife takes an unexpected turn with the appearance of a randy teenage boy named Jabez, as intrigued by Jim's "too much flesh" as his wife is repelled.Review:
Dowell writes with a superb power of constant implicationalways careful, always energetic, always suggestive.(Thom Gunn, Times Literary Supplement)
This novel is a meticulously and subtly composed tour de force on the imagination.(Gilbert Sorrentino, New York Times Book Review)
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Book Description New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1977. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 811206580