Synopses & Reviews
Shirley Jackson meets The Twilight Zone
in this riveting novel of supernatural horror.
A village on the Devil‘s Moor: a place untouched by time and shrouded in superstition. There is the grand manor house whose occupants despise the villagers, the small pub whose regulars talk of revenants, the old mill no one dares to mention. This is where four young friends come of age — in an atmosphere thick with fear and suspicion. Their innocent games soon bring them face-to-face with the village‘s darkest secrets in this eerily dispassionate, astonishingly assured novel, infused with the spirit of the Brothers Grimm and evocative of Stephen King‘s classic short story “Children of the Corn” and the films The White Ribbon by Michael Haneke and Village of the Damned by Wolf Rilla.
"Can a terrible history generate a terrible present? That is the question posed by German-born author Kiesbye's dark second work of fiction (after Next Door Lived a Girl), composed of linked stories set in an archetypal rural German town in what seems to be the immediate postwar period. As in Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, the vague setting heightens the narrative tension, as Christian, first, provides us with a framing device in the funeral of Anke, one of a group of young friends now elderly and distant. Each tells their story in flashback, a perspective that suits the delicate prose. Extraordinary things happened to the villagers 40 years earlier. Some are tinged with the supernatural a traveling carnival worker hints at mysterious origins; an annual cooking contest ends badly and some are truly horrifying: incest, child murder, and a father's brutal act of violence that leaves permanent scars. Why are these things happening in Hemmersmoor? Are tales of witches and curses to be believed? Or does the real reason lie at the end of the railroad tracks? Too subtle to be lurid yet too spooky for comfort, this book should appeal to readers of psychological fiction and literary tales of the supernatural. Agent: Markus Hoffmann, Regal Literary." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"[A] wicked novel....Stunning....[There is a] quiet, unnerving effect [to] Kiesbye’s Brothers Grimm–like prose....An episodic, poetic, nightmarish offspring of Grace Metalious’s Peyton Placeand Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes." Booklist
"Nearly always startling....Quietly savage....Clinically dispassionate and chilling....Smack[s] of shades of Shirley Jackson and Stephen King....In an age when ‘torture porn’ still makes regular returns to the multiplex every Halloween, it’s worth being reminded that novelists, especially gifted ones, can make the trespasses we inflict on others just as ghastly as any chain-saw massacre." Kirkus Reviews
“Chilling...inflicting both terror and wonder....Kiesbye digs deep...and comes up with horrific gold....There is just one word potent enough to describe [it]: the novel is sublime.” BookPage
“[A] wicked novel....Stunning....[There is a] quiet, unnerving effect [to] Kiesbye’s Brothers Grimm–like prose....An episodic, poetic, nightmarish offspring of Grace Metalious’s Peyton Placeand Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes.” Booklist
About the Author
Stefan Kiesbye has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan. Born on the German coast of the Baltic Sea, he moved to Berlin in the early 1980s. He studied drama and worked in radio before starting a degree in American studies, English, and comparative literature at Berlin's Freie Universität. A scholarship brought him to Buffalo, New York, in 1996. Kiesbye now lives in Portales, New Mexico, where he teaches creative writing at Eastern New Mexico University. He is also the arts editor of Absinthe: New European Writing. His stories and poems have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, and his first book, Next Door Lived a Girl, won the Low Fidelity Press Novella Award and was praised by Peter Ho Davies as "utterly gripping," by Charles Baxter as "both laconic and feverish," and by Robert Olmstead as "maddeningly powerful."