Monday, July 21, 2008

A Choir Of Ill Children

Set in the fictitious Southern town of Kingdom Come, A Choir of Ill Children is a good example of modern Southern gothic. Thomas is the richest inhabitant of a town filled with eccentrics and grotesques. He is also the caretaker for his three brothers, conjoined triplets who share one common brain. His life is further complicated by his best friend being a nudist overly possessed of the Holy Spirit, while the local “granny witches” make demands on him in the belief he has some supernatural powers. A drug-addicted cameraman is trying to make a documentary about his brothers, and children are being killed, their bodies left on a local sacrificial rock. And someone is going around kicking dogs with a size twelve shoe.

Piccirilli has a great command of language. Time and again, I stopped to re-read and savor his phrasing, and his eloquent descriptive abilities. The characters he has created are vivid and exceptional. Anyone who loves good writing should read this.

If the book has a flaw, it is there is too little plot to support these wonderful characters. Incident s seem to be more vignette that plot or subplot, and the lack of focus makes it a bit wearying before it ends. Still, Piccirilli has major talent, and there are rewards here for anyone who reads the book.


Fran Friel said...
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Fran Friel said...

Great review, Kent. CHOIR is one of my favorite Pic books. I agree with the plot issue and still the creepy atmosphere and gorgeous language helped me look past it--actually somehow added to the surreal quality of the story, leaving me a bit disoriented. The characters are ones that have never left me years after reading this book.


KentAllard said...

I think it's gonna stick with me, too. Very vivid characterization.