Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Pantheon (July 7, 2015)
For years Normandy Falls has been haunted by its strange history and the aggrieved spirits said to roam its graveyards. Despite warnings, Edmund Campion is determined to pursue an advanced degree there. But Edmund soon learns he isn’t immune to the impersonal trappings of fate: his girlfriend, Morgan Fey, smashes his heart; his adviser, Professor Martin Kingsley, crushes him with frivolous assignments; and his dead-end job begins to take a toll on his physical and mental health. One night he stumbles upon the body of Emily Ryan, an unapologetic townie, drowned in her family pool. Was it suicide or murder? In the days that follow, Emily’s husband, Charlie, crippled by self-loathing and frozen with fear, attempts to flee his disastrous life and sends their twin daughters to stay with the Kingsleys. Possessed by an unnamed, preternatural power, the twins know that the professor seduced their mother and may have had a hand in her fate. With their piercing stares, the girls fill Martin with a remorse that he desperately tries to hide from his wife. Elsewhere, a low-level criminal named the Gonk takes over a remote cottage, complete with a burial ground and moonshine still, and devises plans for both. Xavier D’Avignon, the eccentric chef of a failing French restaurant, supplies customers with a hallucinogenic cocktail. And Colette Collins, an elderly local artist of the surreal, attends a retrospective of her work that is destined to set the whole town on fire.
Kevin P. Keating’s masterly novel delves into the deepest recesses of the human capacity for evil.
“Let’s get this part out of the way: this is a breakthrough novel, one that makes a career. . . . The plot is juicy but it’s Keating’s wordplay that draws a reader in. . . . Keating’s got those nice long sentences and can always grasp the exact right archaic word like Franzen or David Foster Wallace. But anyone who’s read classic horror can quickly see he’s more influenced by the words of Poe and Lovecraft than those pretentious Writer’s Lab types.” —James Renner, The Cleveland Scene
“Literary novels, horror, and humor seldom mix–fantasist Christopher Moore being one of the rare exceptions–but now comes Kevin P. Keating to deliver a brilliant novel so dark, yet so laugh-out-loud funny, that he’s close to inventing a new genre.” —Mystery Scene Magazine
“A black comedy that transcends its own offbeat energy and becomes truly disturbing. . . . Shows Keating to be an astute student of spooky scene-setters from Edgar Allan Poe to Stephen King to David Lynch. But in many of the final passages, such as a horrific building fire, Keating proves to be at least their equal. . . . A darkly funny read and a stylistic tour de force.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
I think this is not a novel that suits everyone. Personally I just found it too wordy, there were just too much and too lengthy descriptions that made me lose track of the story that and made me wonder where the point of the story was? And, that is too bad because in essence we have an interesting story with interesting characters, but they get lost in all the prattle.
I admit that I took I break from the book after I had read 60% and read some other books and then I returned to the book to see if the book felt better to read. And, it was still wordy, but it was a bit better because before it felt that nothing really happened to the story. I could read pages after pages, but the story felt that it didn't movie forward. But after my break at least the story felt a bit better, things started to happen at least.
My native language isn't English, but I usually have no problem with reading English books. With this one was I happy that it was an ebook so that I could easel y look up words that I didn't know and I'm used to it. A good way to learn new words, but I just don't like books that feel like the authors really tries to use as many difficult and less known words. I don't even like to read that kind of books in Swedish.
I can't say I truly enjoyed reading this book. But it had its moments. I liked the story about the twins and Morgan and Lorelai. The professor, Martin Kingsley, and Emily Ryan's story was just not that interesting and that made everything involved Edmund Campion just as uninteresting to read. I like the background of the town as explained in the beginning of the book. But alas this was just not a book for me.
After working as a boilermaker in the steel mills in Ohio, KEVIN P. KEATING became a professor of English and began teaching at Baldwin Wallace University, Cleveland State University, and Lorain County Community College. His essays and stories have appeared in more than fifty literary journals, and his first novel, The Natural Order of Things, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes’ Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. His second novel, The Captive Condition, will be released by Pantheon Books in July of 2015. He lives in Cleveland.
Connect with Kevin on Twitter.
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