Gothic Fiction

Waiting for Gertrude: A Graveyard Gothic

By Bill Richardson

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"In Paris's Pere-Lachaise cemetery lie the bones of many renowned departed. It is also home to a large number of stray cats. Now, what if by some strange twist of fate, the souls of the famous were reborn in the cats with their personalities intact? There's Maria Callas, a wilful and imperious diva, wailing late into the night. Earthy, bawdy chanteuse Edith Piaf is a foul-mouthed washerwoman.

"Oscar Wilde is hopelessly in love with Jim Morrison who sadly does not return his affections. Frederic Chopin is as melancholic and deeply contemplative as ever, and in honor of the tradition of leaving love letters at his tomb, he is now the cemetery's postmaster general. Last but not least, Marcel Proust is trying to solve the mystery behind some unusual thefts - someone has stolen Rossini's glass eye and Sarah Bernhardt's leg. Told in a series of amusing set pieces and intercepted letters, this is a delicious tale of intrigue, unrequited love, longstanding quarrels, character assassinations, petty spats, and sorcery that builds to a steady climax at the cats' annual Christmas pageant."

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Rebecca

By Daphne du Maurier

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A young woman weds a wealthy widower and goes to live in his palatial Cornish estate. Her good fortune turns nightmarish, however, when she finds herself haunted by the spector of Rebecca, her husband's first wife.

On Film:
Rebecca is a true classic, as is Alfred Hitchcock's spine-tingling 1940 movie adaptation, featuring a darkly handsome Laurence Olivier as Maxim de Winter and a fresh-faced Joan Fontaine as the young Mrs. de Winter. This classic movie is a must see! For an updated look at Rebecca check out this 1997 release starring Charles Dance, Emilia Fox, Diana Rigg, Faye Dunaway, Geraldine James. This movie adaptation is recommended for true Rebecca fanatics only-- it's almost three hours long!

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From the Dust Returned: A Family Remembrance

By Ray Bradbury

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"...he takes us to a most wondrous destination: into the heart of an Eternal Family. They have lived for centuries in a house of legend and mystery in upper Illinois -- and they are not like other midwesterners. Rarely encountered in daylight hours, their children are curious and wild; their old ones have survived since before the Sphinx first sank its paws deep in Egyptian sands. And some sleep in beds with lids. Now the house is being readied in anticipation of the gala homecoming that will gather together the farflung branches of this odd and remarkable family.

"In the past-midnight stillness can be detected the soft fluttering of Uncle Einars wings. From her realm of sleep, Cecy, the fairest and most special daughter, can feel the approach of many a welcome being -- shapeshifter, telepath, somnambulist, vampire -- as she flies high in the consciousness of bird and bat. But in the midst of eager anticipation, a sense of doom pervades. For the world is changing. And death, no stranger, will always shadow this most singular family..."

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The Season of the Witch

By Natasha Mostert

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Gabriel Blackstone is an unscrupulous hacker and unrepentant "remote viewer" who can't resist his ex-lover's request to look into her stepson's disappearance. His investigation leads him to a rambling Victorian home that bewitches him-as do its beautiful, enigmatic owners, the Monk sisters. The pair are solar witches, obsessed with alchemy and the Art of Memory, a practice invented by the ancient Greeks. With his uneasy suspicion that one of the sisters is a killer, Gabriel sets out to determine which. But the more entangled in the case he becomes, the more deeply he is drawn into the sisters' entrancing world-losing hold of reality even as he falls into mortal danger.... –Book Description
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The House at Riverton

By Kate Morton

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Grace Bradley went to work at Riverton House as a servant when she was just a girl, before the First World War. For years her life was inextricably tied up with the Hartford family, most particularly the two daughters, Hannah and Emmeline. In the summer of 1924, at a glittering society party held at the house, a young poet shot himself. The only witnesses were Hannah and Emmeline and only they -- and Grace -- know the truth. In 1999, when Grace is ninety-eight years old and living out her last days in a nursing home, she is visited by a young director who is making a film about the events of that summer. She takes Grace back to Riverton House and reawakens her memories. Told in flashback, this is the story of Grace's youth during the last days of Edwardian aristocratic privilege shattered by war, of the vibrant twenties and the changes she witnessed as an entire way of life vanished forever. –Catalog Summary
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The Keep

By Jennifer Egan

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Two cousins, irreversibly damaged by a childhood prank whose devastating consequences changed both their lives, reunite twenty years later to renovate a medieval castle in Eastern Europe, a castle steeped in blood lore and family pride. Built over a secret system of caves and tunnels, the castle and its violent history invoke and subvert all the elements of a gothic past: twins, a pool, an old baroness, a fearsome tower. In an environment of extreme paranoia, cut off from the outside world, the men reenact the signal event of their youth, with even more catastrophic results. And as the full horror of their predicament unfolds, a prisoner, in jail for an unnamed crime, recounts an unforgettable story--a story about two cousins who unite to renovate a castle--that brings the crimes of the past and present into piercing relation. –Publisher’s Description
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The Sister

By Poppy Adams

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Born into a long line of distinguished lepidopterists, scientists who study moths and butterflies, Ginny and Vivien grew up in a sprawling Victorian home. Forty-seven years later, Ginny lives there alone, tending to her moths and obsessions amid the ghosts of her past. But when her sister Vivien returns to the crumbling family mansion, dark, unspoken secrets rise, disrupting Ginny's ordered life and threatening the family's fragile peace. Told in Ginny's unforgettable voice, this debut novel tells a disquieting story of two sisters and the ties that bind-sometimes a little too tightly. –Book Description
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Sleep, Pale Sister

By Joanne Harris

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When puritanical artist Henry Chester sees delicate child beauty Effie, he makes her his favorite model and, before long, his bride. But Henry, volatile and repressed, is in love with an ideal. Passive, docile, and asexual, the woman he projects onto Effie is far from the woman she really is. And when Effie begins to discover the murderous depths of Henry's hypocrisy, her latent passion will rise to the surface. –Book Description
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We Have Always Lived in the Castle

By Shirley Jackson

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Taking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate. –Catalog Summary
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The New Gothic: A Collection of Contemporary Gothic Fiction

By Bradford Morrow and Patrick McGrath (editors)

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Leading contemporary fiction writers from Anne Rice to Martin Amis to Jeanette Winterson contribute first-rank literary stories to this masterful, disturbing collection. –From Publishers Weekly
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