FICTION

The Port-Wine Stain

Bellevue Literary. (American Novels). Jun. 2016. 224p. ISBN 9781942658061. pap. $16.95. F
COPY ISBN
OrangeReviewStarIn this third in the "American Novels" series (set in 1844 and as polished as its predecessors, The Boy in His Winter and American Meteor), an impressionable young Philadelphian named Edward Fenzil reveres both surgeon Thomas Dent Mütter, a collector of medical oddities, and gothic master Edgar Allan Poe. Increasingly identifying with a murderer whose ghastly skull he has received as a prank, Edward sees himself in Poe's story "The Port-Wine Stain" (down to a presumed stain on his check) and accuses Poe of stealing his life.
VERDICT An enthralling and believable picture of the descent into madness, told in chillingly beautiful prose that Poe might envy.

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