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Blackwater: The Complete Saga

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My cohort Anthony Vacca recommended this and Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction agreed with him. Even the most shocking events were told in a way that made me feel as if the southern heat had gotten to me. I would have loved it if this aspect of the story had been explored more deeply, but that thread of the tapestry was snipped off much too soon for my taste.

Miriam is given up to Elinor's mother-in-law Mary-Love in a kind of devil's bargain to free Elinor and her husband from Mary-Love's interference; Miriam grows up estranged from her real mother, the spoiled instrument of her grandmother's manipulations to control all her offspring, while Miriam's younger sister Frances is the sweeter, more innocent child, raised by her real mother and in awe of her haughty big sister. This leans more towards Magical Realism/Southern Gothic and is a fantastic story of an Alabama family, beginning just after the turn of the 20th-century. Regardless of all the schemes and machinations, I usually couldn't wait to see new family members and find out how they would get along, what they would end up doing, what was to become of the Caskeys. Other themes include the role of women, tradition and family and facing the changing world of the 20th century. It has all the Southern gothic pieces I've enjoyed from his other books, but in this long family epic, I got to really stretch out and luxuriate in it.Vermillion (1980): The murder of a luckless young hustler brings the attention of a bigoted politician to Boston's tight-knit gay community. A similarly disturbing tension between dull reality and the supernatural is produced in The Elementals, wherein a host of visitors come to stay at a secluded house occupied by embodiments of elemental forces.

A hotel has been evacuated but when the son of a wealthy matron and a black servant drive by the halfway submerged hotel in their little boat, they discover a young woman in one of the rooms. McDowell's Katie, meanwhile, concerns a clairvoyant serial killer whose powers of perception enable her to evade her trackers. The key takeaway of the plot is knowing it’s a generational novel spanning decades and witnessing the Caskey family. Blackwater' was originally published in 1983 as a series of 6 short books which were released once a month. Genuinely Michael McDowell understands people and explores what life would be like as a woman during this era.It spans the first half of the twentieth century and four generations of Caskeys, their fortunes and misadventures, their strange lives and their sometimes even stranger deaths.

Such a sadness to know that McDowell (lost to AIDS-related illness in 1999) is not around writing any longer. This first-ever one-volume edition, with a new introduction by Shirley Jackson Award-winning author Nathan Ballingrud, allows a new generation of readers to discover this modern horror classic. Considering the specific atmosphere of the drama, it's no surprise that Michael McDowell was a gay man. Sometimes I get annoyed with them and just want the whole thing to just wrap up, but that was never the case with this one. I love Oscar, Elinor, James, Queenie, Danjo, Lucille, Grace, Miriam, Zaddie, Frances, and even Sister (Elvennia).His first horror novel, The Amulet, relates the tragedies that befall various individuals who come in possession of a supernatural pendant in a small town. Although containing explicit horror elements and gruesome descriptions, McDowell manages to deal with interesting and heavy themes!

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