William Gay died recently. Died suddenly. Just my age. I’d never heard of him (bad news for me) but a friend sent me the news and directed me toward some titles she liked. Twilight’s not one of those, but I’ll get to them. In the meantime, there’s nothing wrong with this as an archetype of southern gothic.
Like (as I understand it) most all of Gay’s fiction, Twilight is set in rural Tennessee in the 50’s. Kenneth Tyler and his sister, Corrie, had a hard time of growing up, what with a drunk, child-beating daddy running around after them all the time. But he’s gone now, and they’re making a go of it. He’s a fairly skilled and responsible odd-jobber; she’s a factory worker improving her education.
Enter Undertaker Fenton Breece. Enter killer-for-hire Granville Sutter. Throw in some grave robbing and some blackmail. Let the chase through the Harrikin–a wild area replete with mystery people and abandoned mansions–begin.
As for the writing. You won’t find much better. How about this snippet from a sheriff and his deputy contemplating the mass stabbing of an entire family–including the dog.
Reckon why whoever it was killed the dog anyway?
I’ve thought about that some, Sandy said. I believe it was just all there was left to kill.
And, as Kurt V puts it, so it goes.
Gay is about to become the second or third author I get obsessed with this year already. Ain’t it fun?