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Twilight Hardcover – October 20, 2006

4.1 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Teenage siblings Corrie and Kenneth Tyler suspect they've been ripped off by the town undertaker, but what they discover in Gay's resplendently dark third novel is much more sinister than either imagined. After their bootlegger father is buried in smalltown 1951 Tennessee, Kenneth sees undertaker Fenton Breece remove an item from the grave. The siblings dig up their father's grave, among others, and uncover unsettling evidence of Fenton's necrophilia. Corrie cooks up a blackmail plot and enlists Kenneth to steal Fenton's briefcase, which contains, as Kenneth and Corrie soon find out, photos depicting Fenton "capering gleefully" with corpses. Blackmail material in hand, Corrie demands $15,000 from Fenton, and Fenton hires local psychopath Granville Sutter to muzzle—by whatever means necessary—the Tylers and get back the photos. A violent run-in with Sutter ends with Corrie's death, and Kenneth runs off to the Harrikin, a remote rural area inhabited by the eccentric and the creepy, leaving Fenton to cavort with Corrie's corpse. Gay (The Long Home) fills the book with haunting imagery and shocking, morbid and (surprisingly) hopeful turns as twisted justice gets meted out. Language lovers who are not faint of heart won't want to miss this one. (Oct. 20)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Good flees from evil through a dark and tangled forest in this symbol-heavy southern gothic cum survival story set in rural Tennessee in 1951. Teenage Kenneth Tyler is on the run from Granville Sutter, a monstrously evil but wickedly efficient hit man who has been hired to retrieve some incriminating photos the boy has stolen from the local mortician, who has a penchant for doing unspeakable things to and with the corpses in his professional care. Yikes! Though Gay has sometimes been compared with Faulkner, it's Davis Grubb and his wonderful novel The Night of the Hunter that provides much of the inspiration here (a quote from Grubb opens the novel's second section). Though veering sometimes dangerously close to melodrama, Gay seems incapable of writing a dull sentence, and Twilight is further redeemed by his brilliant gift for dialogue, his occasional dark humor, and his utterly convincing portrayal of the reality of ruination and of evil. Michael Cart
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: MacAdam/Cage (October 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596920580
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596920583
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bornintime VINE VOICE on February 8, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
He felt remote, utterly alone. With the cool earth against his back he awoke sometime in his second night and he could feel the earth wheeling on its mitred course through eternity. Here the sky was clear and so strewn with stars there seemed no darkness between them but simply a vast phantasmagoria of light. Weak with hunger, he watched loom out of the night strange gaudy constellations like great wheels rolling toward him and turning endless in the void as if here in the Harrikin even the heavens were ancient and strange. They seemed to alter night to night as if the universe itself was still in flux. Once a shower of falling stars that seemed to have fallen prey to some celestial epidemic but instead of them showering around him he felt the pull of the earth fall away from his back and he became weightless, rising toward their streaking light like ofttold tales of souls raptured upward. ***** I don't know about you but, after reading a paragraph like that, I am pretty much committed to reading everything available by its author.

Don't be put off by some of the 1 to 4 star reviews. This is a brilliant book. Yes, BRILLIANT - and I don't say that about many books. This works on so many different levels. It is a page turner and can be devoured in a couple days. But the dialog is so rich, the author's tone and cadence so remarkable that I find myself rereading many passages. This is a book to be read slowly or better yet to be read again. For such a dark book (and it is very dark!) there is a lot of humor. William Gay writes dialog and conversations like no other. The author's ruminations on time and it's passing are remarkable. This is not some disposable adventure / horror story but a classic that will be appreciated by some of us for a very long time.
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Format: Paperback
Called a `Southern Gothic' by critics and reviewers, I got interested in this dark tale by Stephen King. He has a column on the last page of Entertainment Weekly (someone gave me a gift subscription and admittedly I have enjoyed this guilty pleasure) He is in the there about once every 3rd week or so, and in this issue he had a year end `Best Of' list. TWILIGHT was his book of the year so I had to have it. Now after reading this excellent book, I respect Mr. King even more for his depth in reading. William Gay himself describes this story as a modern Hansel and Gretel...which it is, but no fairy tale, as horrifying as they could be, ever read like this. Gay has an eloquent writing style that wraps you in his world right off the bat. (I just ordered another book of his) This tale of good and evil turns into a lengthy cat and mouse chase thru the rural sticks of Tennessee in the 1950's, and we feel the adrenaline of one who is being chased for much of the book. The story deals with a brother and sister that find out some most disturbing facts about the local funeral director. They steal a briefcase from him and discover some incriminating photos which they try to blackmail him with. This backfires when he hires a monstrous ex-con to `take care' of his problem. No more from me. If you like an edge of your seat kind of read....then, by all means....scare yourself silly with this terrifying and beautifully written Southern Gothic.
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By John Bowes on March 5, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Perverse, cruel, and depraved describe the bad guys. Crazy,too. And the regular people are hard scrabble folks, who try to do the right things, despite a lot of apathetic observers. Gay can write. The pages keep turning. The midnight oil burns. I'm looking for his other books.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Twilight is a novel that should have been a novella. It was recommended to me by uncle, and was requested that I avoid it by my brother. I tend to fall on the side of my brother in this case. The novel starts off so incredibly well. In fact the first 100 pages are so good, and so well-written that I was ready to declare William Gay every bit as good as Cormac McCarthy is. Everything about these first 100 pages is perfect. Perfect pace. Perfect character development. Great plot. It is really something to behold. But when I tell you that the book takes a crushing nosedive in a matter of just 30 more pages, I mean it.

To put it simply, after the set up of the first part of the novel, Twilight is the most disappointing book I’ve ever read. I was begging someone to put me out of my misery. Someone please just come take the book from my hands. Let it befall some unfortunate accident and be burned into ash. If the book had suddenly ended with no resolutions to any of the plots that Gay had built then I would have been just as happy with the book as I am currently. The pages between 100 and 200 read and felt so much like unnecessary filler that anime directors and writers read it for help when they have writer’s block. The book slows down for no reason whatsoever, then when it finally comes back around to the continuation of what was a great story, I found it impossible to care at all about the outcome of the story. It finishes in 230 pages what should have been done in 125. This story could have won the Pulitzer Prize if Gay had just gotten to the point. Unfortunately it feels like Gay came up with 95% of a great story and then didn’t know how to end it. So he kept writing and writing and writing until finally he gave up on figuring out a good ending so he just pulled one out of thin air.
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