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Houdini Heart Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Eio Books (April 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0975925512
  • ISBN-13: 978-0975925515
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #505,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ki Longfellow, born on Staten Island, New York, to a French-Irish mother and an Iroquois father, grew up in Hawaii and Marin County, California, but ended up living in France and England for many years. She is the widow of a British national treasure, the complete artist Vivian Stanshall.

In England, she created and sailed the Thekla, a 180 foot Baltic Trader, to the port of Bristol where it became the Old Profanity Showboat. It remains there today as a Bristol landmark. On it, she and Vivian wrote and staged a unique musical for the sheer joy of it. "Stinkfoot, a Comic Opera," garnered a host of delighted, if slightly puzzled, national reviews. The Old Profanity is on its way to becoming "The Last Showboat," film.

Her first book, "China Blues," was the subject of a bidding war. "China Blues," and her second novel, "Chasing Women," introduced Longfellow to Hollywood... a long hard but ultimately fascinating trip. ("China Blues" was reissued by Eio Books in 2012.)

When Vivian died in 1995, Ki stopped writing, living on Standing Room Only Farm in Vermont. Time may not heal, but it tempers. Eventually Ki began writing again, but her subject became the moment at age 19 that informed her life... a direct experience with the Divine. She chose the figure of Mary Magdalene to tell that tale in her novel "The Secret Magdalene." Nancy Savoca, a brilliant independent film maker (winner of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize with her first film, "True Love") traveled all the way to Vermont to option the book as her next film.

Ki's second book on the Divine Feminine is "Flow Down Like Silver," a novel about the numinous and gifted Hypatia of Alexandria, a tragically ignored historical figure of towering intellect who searched through intellect for what the Magdalene knew in her heart.

Recently, a huge departure from her all she'd written before, Longfellow found herself writing a tale of supernatural horror called "Houdini Heart." This book was selected by the Horror Writers of America as one of a handful of books to be considered for their 2011 Bram Stoker Award for Best Horror Novel.

In the Spring of 2013 the first three titles of her Sam Russo noir murder mystery series was published by Eio Books: "Shadow Roll," "Good Dog, Bad Dog," and "The Girl in the Next Room."

She's at work on the third and last book in her Divine Feminine series. Meant to be one thing, it's become quite another thing. Writers may think they know what they're going to write, but they can be very wrong.

She lives wherever she finds herself. Currently that's a sailboat in Puget Sound.

Official website ~ www.kilongfellow.com

"The Secret Magdalene" ~ www.thesecretmagdalene.com

"Flow Down Like Silver" ~ www.flowdownlikesilver.com

"Houdini Heart" ~ http://eiobooks.com/houdini/

"China Blues" ~ https://www.createspace.com/3780416 and
http://www.amazon.com/China-Blues-Ki-Longfellow/dp/0975925571/ref=sr_1_21?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1331228815&sr=1-21

For the author's facebook fan page ~ www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Ki-Longfellow/134989848786

Longfellow twitter ~ https://twitter.com/#!/KiLongfellow

Blogging away ~ http://kilongfellow.wordpress.com/

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
In the end it is up to you to decide, but this story will leave you tingling.
Wyatt at Pan Historia
Loved the symbolism, metaphors, vivid imagery and Ki has a very easy-to-read style.
Lee Thompson
Since I happen to like horror, and because this is Longfellow, I read the book.
Ellis Creez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ellis Creez on May 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
As in love as I am with Longfellow's extraordinary historical and mystical novels The Secret Magdalene: A Novel and Flow Down Like Silver (Hypatia of Alexandria), I was surprised to find she has written a horror story. Since I happen to like horror, and because this is Longfellow, I read the book. How do I feel? In a word, haunted. I think I mean in the way one is haunted by the works of Shirley Jackson. Houdini Heart is truly one of a kind, even if compared to Jackson. In it, Longfellow's lead character is helpless, funny, resourceful, perhaps mad, perhaps not, and deadly, a thrilling combination. A writer lost in her own creations, or a woman lost in the "real" world? I never knew for sure. All I know now is that within a few pages I was as lost in the witty, literate, eerie and terrifying world Longfellow made of the Vermont town of Little Sokoki (where River House "still stands") as the woman whose story this is. I'm also deeply impressed that Longfellow can switch writing styles with such seeming ease. This is written in a voice totally unlike her historical work. It's deceptively light until it grows deceptively darker and darker...and darker. I suspect Longfellow is haunted, or was. Perhaps this book has exorcised some of those demons. Perhaps not. But I have little doubt that once discovered, Houdini Heart, a masterful blend of elegant literary fiction and deeply creepy genre fiction, will become a classic.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By William Kates on June 7, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of those books that takes you very gently down a seductive path that gradually entangles you in brambles of increasing identifiableness and madness, then won't let you go. Ki Longfellow Stanshall's first person narrator weaves you into a world that may seem perfectly ordinary at first, but as her skewed universe is fleshed out, the things that are wrong slowly snowball into a full blown inner view of psychosis. This lady is driving the car, but you can't get out.

I don't know any other book with a story vector quite so perfectly paced. It's rather like swimming in a clear, serene pond, floating languidly, amidst a mastery of language and descriptors delicious, rich and funny as Tom Robins, Thomas Pynchon, or even sometimes Joyce, and almost lazily sensual. But as one floats, the sense of a current slowly and subtly increases, until before you know it, it's as though you're swirling in a mad blender with blades swirling beneath the surface that are sure to chop you up. You want to scream for it to stop, but it's so beautifully and masterfully done that you need to see what happens next.

Flashing between the glamor of Hollywood and a small, bucolic town in Vermont, this book's protagonist invites empathy even as she leads you into her full blown insanity. She's a monster you've never met, yet somehow you know. By the time she's done with you, you've gone through her three dimensional circus of dementia right along with her.

If you like Steven King, Lovecraft, Alfred Hitchcock movies, and even a touch of Jaqueline Suzanne, this is a dark, lovely, wonderful and harrowing tale full of movie stars, sardonic humor and good old fashioned horror. It shakes you up, and then spits you out more than a little changed. Devilish fun. Highly recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Wyatt at Pan Historia on May 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
'Houdini Heart' is a sinister trip through corridors of illusion. A woman, running away from her past, moves into a haunted building. From the first page this journey into the heart of darkness draws you in, and even when you MUST take a break from reading, dwells within you, so that you have to return to the book, and find out what is waiting in the River House. It never disappoints.

Exploring the rooms and hallways of River House with our 'heroine' is either a trip into madness, or a literary haunting, or both. In the end it is up to you to decide, but this story will leave you tingling. Even days after putting it down 'Houdini Heart' still haunts me.

I have read Ms. Longfellow's other books, and this one is certainly a departure from her most recent historical novels. Those books are full of the search for inner knowledge and enlightenment, gnosis even. But in 'Houdini Heart' this writer steps into the darkness of the human psyche, but with no less of sure step and deep inner knowing of the vagaries of the human mind and heart. It makes sense that someone so familiar with the light inside us should also be able to reveal the dark with such a deft and chilling touch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By td Whittle on October 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a fun piece of fiction + meta fiction, and stories-within-stories, but overall, it did not thrill me. Also, unlike many of the works which the narrator discusses, and which the author evokes within the book, it did not scare me. I think it was trying too hard. I could see every nail as the author hammered it into the board, and much of it felt contrived and over-worked. I felt outside the story, consistently, never immersed ... Except: yes, when the narrator spoke of her family and her life before her recent tenancy at River House.

The main story is about a novelist and screenwriter whose name we never learn, who returns to the town of her childhood and takes up residence in the once-grand-now-dilapidated River House, to live out what we are told from the start will be her final days. The book is told in first person, and we are never allowed out of the narrator's head, which can become tedious and claustrophobic at times. We enter the narrator's life at a crisis point, as she is immersed in a tragedy and is not out of danger. Also, we learn pretty quickly, she herself has the potential to be dangerous: she is on the run, hiding from the public, drinking heavily, experiencing time-loss and black-outs, rapidly losing her sense of reality, and has nothing left to lose (or, so she believes). Her experiences in River House are either a result of encroaching madness, or they are really happening. Reality is a slippery concept in this book.

All of this presents, initially, an intriguing set-up. I expected to enjoy the ride much more than I did. Come to think of it, a carnival ride through a tunnel of horror is a rather apt metaphor for this book -- darkness; speed-and-stillness-and-speed; things lurking around corners, so that we brush up against them as we pass.
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