Kerry Trask stopped in last week. He picked up The Gargoyle while on a trip to Canada, and the bookseller told him it was flying off the shelves. I happened to have an ARC so I dug in. The pre-publication reviews were strong, and I can see why. Although this is Andrew Davidson's first novel, he hits the mark in a number of areas - plot depth, moodiness, parallels to classic literature, (The Inferno), layered characters, and excruciating sense images. It is those very images that may stand in my way of finishing this book. Blood, violence, spinning heads, and headless men riding horses for that matter, scare the bejeepers out of me.
I remember the first time my parents let me stay home alone. I was about nine years old, and they left me alone for all of an hour on a Saturday afternoon while they went grocery shopping. Do you remember that wonderful starter encyclopedia set from Golden? Over sized, nice thick pages, and filled with inviting color pictures. I was working my way through them, and was mid-way through Volume G. The next article was "Ghosts." So, I dug in, reading about hauntings around the United States, and famous apparitions in literature. When my parents returned, they found me waiting for them on the front steps. There was no way I was staying in the house alone with ghosts on the loose. That was the beginning of my spirit phobia.
Give me a nice little story like Hawthorne's "Feathertop." Mother Rigby makes a scarecrow for her garden, and then decides to bring him to life to settle a grudge with a local judge. In his human persona, Feathertop falls in love with the judge's daughter. Eventually, Polly sees Feathertop reflected in a mirror as a scarecrow, and the romance is off! As in all of Hawthorne's work, there is plenty of moralizing. In this case, he wants us to know that not all people who enjoy glowing reputations are deserving of the admiration. They eventually will be found out, according to the author. That my kind of Halloween story!
Similar novels/stories attempted but left unfinished include Charlotte Perkins Gilman "The Yellow Wallpaper", The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton, In a Glass Darkly by Sheridan LeFanu, and The Woman in White by Wilke Collins.
What did the ghost buy at the music store?
I had a nice Manitowoc weekend. Although I couldn't go to Octoberfest, nearly every customer who came in on Saturday said they had either been there or were heading there. Glad to hear it.
Friday night I stopped to drop a gift at a friend's house, and got a glimpse of her real life. Between the time I made the phone call asking if it would be OK to drop by, to my arrival, she got quite ill...no details from me on this, just trust that she was unhappy. She opened the door, wrapped in a blanket, pale, barely able to move. She was still awfully friendly, considering the situation! Her husband came in to say "hi" wearing flannel pj bottoms, and the cardboard carrier from a 12 pack of Pepsi products on his head. Oldest child ran in, said "hi" and disappeared, while youngest child graciously handed me one of his toys and hid behind the couch until I left... I am assuming he has come out by this time! Truly a Norman Rockwell experience.
Sunday morning I repaid a favor by taking a friend to breakfast at Whispering Orchards. This well kept secret is off MM in Cleveland. As the name implies, it is situated on an apple orchard, and I think the restaurant used to be a barn. The weather was perfect for checking out the goats, and peacocks. I grabbed a couple pumpkins, and some freshly picked apples. Breakfast was yummy. Try this place. We have a customer named Lucy, who fills me in on all these out of the way treasures. She also told me about the unbelievable peony garden off Vista Road, and the eagle's nest in the same vicinity. She has introduced me to some fine music - The Pupinni Sisters - and in general, is a supporter of all things Manitowoc County. She supports local businesses, local events, and local organizations. Everyone should have a Lucy in their life!