On “Dundun”

by a contributor

Patrick Somerville

It’s not the iconic story of the book and Dundun is more a glued-together cluster of nightmares and ideas than a character, but I’ve always remembered it and always been afraid of it. Not just because Dundun casually murders McInnes, and he fades away after a long pause and an “okay” in the back of the car, but more because of the story’s bizarre matrix of imagery, the intrusion of what has to be called a comic tone into a story about sadism, the hyperbolic non sequiturs scattered across the eleven stories of the book reaching a kind of pure focal point of half-insanity as Fuckhead tries to analyze the situation in the way that he analyzes situations. He falls asleep while he’s driving them to the hospital? Briefly? No he doesn’t. But he does. And such is the book’s perfect and twisted reality, the crisp and inexplicable dream of surprise within surprise. How dare you end with that soldering iron? I would call it perfect if I thought such things were possible.

Patrick Somerville’s fourth book, This Bright River, will be out in June from Reagan Arthur Books/Little, Brown. He lives with his wife and son in Chicago.