Beluthahatchie and Other Stories
is kind of an eyebrow-raising collection: the author had seen barely more than nine stories in print at publication time, and he's got a gorgeous hardcover collection from a respected publisher, containing nine of those stories plus two previously unpublished. Andy Duncan had better be great.
Well, he is. He's better than many decades-established veterans, with a keen ear for dialogue, a Southerner's love of storytelling, a gift for characterization, a fascination with obscure history and folklore, and a wonderfully weird mind. He presents an ethics-obsessed secret brotherhood of hangmen and a peripatetic electric-chair operator in "The Executioner's Guild." He brings a certain notorious Paris theater to life with strange romance and artistic envy in "Grand Guignol." "The Premature Burials" finds a gothic erotic charge in being buried alive. "Liza and the Crazy Water Man" shows as much affection for Southern ways and the now-obscure world of 1930s country music as the Coen Brothers' movie O, Brother, Where Art Thou?. --Cynthia Ward
"I suspect we'll be seeing a lot more from Andy Duncan in years to come." -- Michael M. Levy, The New York Review of Science Fiction
...Faulkner-tinged Southern Gothic short fiction has been gathered together in this altogether remarkable debut collection. -- LOCUS
Altogether remarkable . . . Beluthahatchie is as good a collection as you'll see all year. -- Jonathan Strahan, Locus magazine, July 2000