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Escardy Gap Hardcover – October 1, 1996

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 543 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr; 2 Har/Dis edition (October 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312862105
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312862107
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.8 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,590,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In the tradition of Stephen King, this novel combines an author overcoming writer's block with a macabre tale?here the siege of an idyllic town by a trainload of murderous, inhuman passengers. As the writer types toward the conclusion, the characters seem to exist outside his imagination. Vivid descriptions and characterizations will attract King's readers. Highly recommended for horror and sf collections.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Very long fantasy/horror debut novel that doesn't pick up steam for 250 pages, then becomes passably inventive of its kind. Crowther and Lovegrove's story burdens itself with a dreary, clich‚-strewn opening (a novel-within-the-novel) about an old, self-pitying, burned-out Manhattan novelist suffering with writer's block. When he does suddenly begin to write again, he tells about the arrival of a mysterious train at Escardy Gap, an idyllic village. For the next several hundred pages, the authors paste together genre banalities; Escardy Gap itself is a flimsy site, filled with stereotypical townsfolk/murder victims. The train brings a fairly (by contrast) distinct crew of demons, called The Company, who are deceptively pleasant before they begin maiming, disembowelling, or poisoning the innocent people who welcome them into their homes. Their leader is the aimless but murderous Jeremiah Rackstraw. His troupe includes Mr. Olesqui, a midget who kills with tobacco smoke; Boy, whose handless arms create their own forms of energy; Buzz Beaumont, who spews great fireballs of electricity; Agnes Destiny, who trails bunches of limp phalli (her own) along the floor; Clarence, a shapechanger who can mimic anybody or reinvent himself as a monster; Felcher the poisoner; and rhymester Neville N. Nolan, Rackstaw's Ariel, who can transform himself into a giant horsefly with gemlike eyes, capable of finding anyone anywhere. Also appearing: Alecto, Atrops, and Aegle, ravishingly beautiful Man-eaters who give new meaning to the term vagina dentata. The more-or-less heroine is beautiful young Sara Sienkeiwicz, who publishes stories in Weird Tales and, like Faulkner's Eula Mae Varner, drives all men mad. Her role is entirely passive, since the old writer (who increasingly loses control of his own story to The Company) tries to frustrate the efforts of his own youthful hero, Josh Knight, to save her, preserving Sara for himself. Lighthearted butchery, an intermittently lively dance around the maypole staged in an abattoir. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Henry W. Wagner VINE VOICE on February 3, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"...a writer without an idea is just about the dumbest, most desperate creature in the world. From dawn to dusk he is haunted, hounded, and hunted by invisible demons. Nothing contents him, nothing comforts him. There are no satisfactions, no consolations for him. None. Not a one."

Narrator, from Escardy Gap

Enervated by a lengthy battle with writer's block, the narrator of Escardy Gap stomps around his apartment in a fruitless search for inspiration. He tries to write, but can only turn out clichés. Seeking stimulation from the work of other authors, he finds only frustration when confronted with their excellence. Just when he's ready to give up, his typewriter literally starts to mock him. Spurred by its taunts, he looks deep inside himself for a story, praying he will find one. Suddenly, he has a vision of a train arriving at the station of a small town. Sensing a story, he sits down to type.

Thus begins one of the best, most provocative books of the last few years. "Best" due to its energy, exuberance and charm, "provocative" because of its thoughtful treatment of the relationship between imagination and reality.

The setting is a quintessential example of small town, nineteen fifties America called Escardy Gap, a town that combines the qualities of the narrator's home town and "every fictional town" he ever lived in through books. Think Greentown, Riverdale, Smallville "without the flying boy", and Castle Rock "as it might have been forty years ago". The players are the colorful citizens of Escardy Gap and the shadowy members of a performing troupe known as the Company.

The Company arrives one fine summer day, traveling on a "monster of a train".
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Thomas VINE VOICE on February 28, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I found this novel to be very tough to rate. The first 200 pages were forgetable; too many cliches, too much over-the-top characterization, too many characters, and too many bad guys. But then, the plot started to take hold. We delve down into the major characters and begin to see them grow. The quirky plot device of getting the "main" character (the author who is writing this tale) actually into the novel seemed contrived at first and almost hokey but somehow, they pull it off. My interest level definitely perked up and I rode the final pages of the book like a wave. When I finished the last chapter, I wanted to give it 5 stars but must cut back to only 4 because of the long drawn-out build-up in the beginning. The gory parts (and there are a lot of them) are very gory but often original. All in all, worth it in the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amy Liz on March 9, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I recommend this novel if for no other reason than to revel in the sheer joy of its language. Crowther and Lovegrove clearly had fun writing this book, and I had a great time reading it.
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