Though he has authored more than eleven novels, including Cassandra Singing, The Suicide's Wife, Abducted by Circumstance, and the recent London Bridge in Plague and Fire, David Madden has been publishing short stories for all six decades of his active career. The Last Bizarre Tale consists of works that appeared in journals but that have not appeared together as a collection.
Madden used two stories, "The Singer" and "Second Look Presents: the Rape of an Indian Brave," as chapters in his 1980 novel On the Big Wind. "The Headless Girl's Mother" was first published as a chapter in a serialized novel entitled Hair of the Dog. Two other stories developed out of longer versions of Madden's novels. "A Demon in My View" is part of a sequel, not yet published, to Bijou.
All of the stories in David Madden's third collection are distinguished by variety of content and by shifting styles and often innovative techniques. They are to varying degrees and in various ways bizarre in their characters and their relationships, in the kinds of internal and external conflicts, and in locales and themes. The title story, The Last Bizarre Tale, involving a corpse that has hung on a hook in a funeral home garage for decades, is evocative of Poe and, in its dark, grotesque humor, Flannery O'Connor and Carson McCullers.
"Process is as important as product to David Madden," writes editor James Perkins, "and one can learn as much about the process of writing as about the human condition by a careful reading of these stories."
James A. Perkins is a professor of English Emeritus at Westminster College. He is the author of The Cass Mastern Material: The Core of Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men. He is coeditor, with Jeffrey J. Folks, of Southern Writers at Century's End and coauthor, with Randy J. Hendricks, of David Madden: A Writer for All Genres.