Books » Wild Fell
- 2013, ChiZine Publications
- ISBN 1771481595
- 300 pages
- French Edition
- September 2016
- Éditions Bragelonne, Paris
FINALIST FOR THE SHIRLEY JACKSON AWARD
The crumbling summerhouse called Wild Fell, soaring above the desolate shores of Blackmore Island, has weathered the violence of the seasons for more than a century. Built for his family by a 19th-century politician of impeccable rectitude, the house has kept its terrible secrets and its darkness sealed within its walls. For a hundred years, the townspeople of Alvina have prayed that the darkness inside Wild Fell would stay there, locked away from the light.
Jameson Browning, a man well acquainted with suffering, has purchased Wild Fell with the intention of beginning a new life, of letting in the light. But what waits for him at the house is devoted to its darkness and guards it jealously. It has been waiting for Jameson his whole life... or even longer. And now, at long last, it has found him.
From the Sunburst and Aurora Award-nominated author of Enter, Night comes an unforgettable contemporary ghost story in the classic tradition of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw.
Praise for Wild Fell
The mysteries of love and time haunt the beautifully wrought pages of Michael Rowe's superb ghost story Wild Fell. This is a novel for lovers of fine storytelling; a book that evokes terrors both ancient and modern and delivers us to a place of profound fear where the past and present intersect, conjuring a dark world where the dead wear our faces. Or none at all. In short, Wild Fell is supernatural fiction of the highest order."
A modern take on Gothic ghost stories, Rowe's second novel replaces the isolated heroines of such tales with an equally isolated, socially estranged man and adds such unsavory details as modern audiences might find diverting. . . . [A]rtfully constructed, a tale as deliberate and inexorable as a glacier."
"Wild Fell, is classic Gothic fiction à la Ann Radcliffe and Edgar Allan Poe. Centering on a crumbling mansion built in the 19th century on a remote island in Georgian Bay and the nightmarish consequences of its gruesome history, this novel was unputdownable—definitely an up-all-night read! Like stories from the aforementioned Radcliffe and Poe, this novel is replete with rich imagery and symbolism and succeeds brilliantly on multiple levels. It's a work of dark literary fiction that should wow genre fiction and mainstream fiction readers alike."
Paul Goat Allen
Deeply textured, richly imagined, and with characters that leap from the book, Wild Fell is an atmospheric ghost story that grips from the first page. A fine novel that is destined to become a classic."
"Ghosts occupy the liminal spaces between life and death, wakefulness and dreaming, beauty and terror. So it is only fitting that Michael Rowe's Wild Fell evokes all of these things and more. This is an imaginative feat that elevates the haunted house tale to a new level. Like its ghosts, Wild Fell will seduce you, frighten you, and leave you awestruck. A magnificent and peerless novel."
Richard Gavin, author of At Fear's Altar
"Loved this. In the guise of a ghost story, Rowe examines questions of memory, history, gender and the way time works—and it's beautifully written."
Lauren B. Davis, Giller Prize-longlisted author of Our Daily Bread and The Empty Room
"With Wild Fell, Michael Rowe has written a ghost story of uncompromising terror. He is a writer of uncommon grace, with a command of story and character that enables him to describe with confidence and maturity the fears of childhood, and of self-discovery, of sexuality, and still darker legacies. All of these things lurk beneath the surface of Wild Fell, making it that rare work that demands to be read and read and read again; for like the water around Blackmore Island itself, this book is full of secrets. A truly chilling ghost story, Wild Fell will rattle you."
Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Flesh Eaters and Dog Days
"There is genderbending, child abuse, a feisty lesbian, creepy insects and a heaping helping of house porn, all of which add a contemporary spice to a classical structure. . . . The characters breathe with an undead life and Wild Fell is as unsettling as actually seeing a ghost."
Drew Rowsome, MyGayToronto.com
"Wild Fell serves as a dark reminder that everything about our identity is changeable—gender, identity, personality, and desire. Our bodies and spirits interact in complex ways, and nothing about ourselves is stationary."
"Wild Fell is one of the best books of 2013."
Terry Weyna, Horrible Mondays
"The defiles of hidden history, the ultimate unreliability of memory, and the awestruck fear which can be produced by certain tricks done with mirrors, especially in darkened rooms: these things all lie not only at the heart of Michael Rowe's frankly brilliant new novel Wild Fell, but are braided throughout it like ever-tightening ropes, pulling the reader inexorably along to the narrative's existential stomach-punch of a conclusion. With his effortless-seeming prose and gift of creating characters we recognize well enough to both love and fear for, Rowe practices a blackly elegant form of magic, tempting us into the wilderness at the heart of the familiar and then leaving us thereâ€”night-bound, abandoned and trapped, with nowhere to go but downâ€”as true monstrousness approaches. Original, unputdownable, simply unforgettable."
Gemma Files, International Horror Guild Award-winning author of the Hexlinger trilogy
"[Wild Fell] fulfills the Hobbesian ideal of a haunted house novel: nasty, brutish and short. Also, elegant. With more than a little meta-fictional self-awareness—another trope of the haunted house novel post-1820, when the genre was already centuries old—Rowe tells the story of damaged ingénue Jameson Browning, who purchases the titular mansion on a lake-locked outcropping called Blackmore Island after an accident which puts him in possession of a sizable cash settlement. The ghosts are also real in Rowe, this time in the visage of Rosa Blackmore, a spectral teenager who makes known her presence in grim, strobic flashes around the estate. And yet, as in all the best haunted house stories, the specter in Wild Fell is more than just that; it's a powerful human emotion made flesh—or un-flesh, as the case may be. While over it all loom the spires of Wild Fell: dwelt in by Jameson, dwelling in him."
Adrian van Young, ElectricLit
"It's very difficult for today's writers to create an effective haunted house novel without finding some way to twist it, either through humor or through the lens of technology. Any author attempting a haunted house novel in the classic tradition needs the skill and talent to weave a dreamlike sense of terror with compelling characters and, most importantly, a sense of place that is both unique and tangible, not to mention full of dread. Michael Rowe is up to the task in Wild Fell, in which a man fleeing his life in search of a new one purchases the summer house on Blackmore Island in a deal which feels to him like destiny. The whole affair is a modern exercise in classic gothic storytelling, and well worth your time."
New York Times-bestselling author Christopher Golden, writing on Tor.com