Red the Fiend
At least once a day, Red's grandmother beats him so severely that the snot flies out of his nose. The son of an absent drunk of a father and a ... Show synopsis At least once a day, Red's grandmother beats him so severely that the snot flies out of his nose. The son of an absent drunk of a father and a passive-aggressive mother, Red is offered up as the scapegoat for all of Grandma's rage. Smacked, whipped, systematically humiliated and degraded while his cowed grandfather stands by, Red's anything but idyllic childhood mirrors the hardships his Irish-Catholic, Depression-era family suffers. Grandma's frustrations stem from a lifetime of disappointment. Once, before she was consumed by bitterness, life held promise for her, but the promise was never fulfilled. Someone must bear the burden of blame for the failure of her hopes, and Grandma is ingenious at devising methods to inflict pain on Red. What we witness is the making of a monster: Red the boy becomes Red the Fiend. In elegant and gripping, brilliant prose, Gilbert Sorrentino has portrayed a world in which everyone is a victim, inescapably and hopelessly trapped in self-loathing and hatred.