A Novel

Publisher: Anchor Canada
Suspecting that something is amiss with their father’s burial, teenager Kenneth Tyler and his sister Corrie venture to his gravesite and make a horrific discovery: their father, a whiskey bootlegger, was not actually buried in the casket they bought for him. Worse, they learn that the undertaker, Fenton Breece, has been grotesquely manipulating the dead.

Armed with incriminating photographs, Tyler becomes obsessed with bringing the perverse undertaker to justice. But first, he must outrun Granville Sutter, a local strongman and convicted murderer hired by Fenton to destroy the evidence. With his poetic, haunting prose, William Gay rewrites the rules of the gothic fairytale while exploring the classic Southern themes of good and evil.


The wagon came out of the sun with its attendant din of iron rims turning on flinty shale, its worn silvergray fired orange by the malefic light flaring behind it, the driver disdaining the road for the shortcut down the steep incline, erect now and sawing the lines, riding the brake onehanded until the wheels locked and...
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"The perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. . . . Think No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy, and Deliverance, by James Dickey. . . then double the impact. It starts with a gruesome discovery in a small country graveyard (can you say ''crazed necro-philiac undertaker''?) and finishes with a terrifying chase through some of the most surreal landscape you will ever encounter. Teenage hero Kenneth Tyler is immensely appealing (not to mention resourceful); his opposite number, the psychopathic Granville Sutter, is both gruesome and psychologically believable. #1"
—Stephen King in his "Top Books of 2007" for Entertainment Weekly

"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."

"In his third novel, Twilight, Tennessee author William Gay once again delivers Southern gothic writing at its gut-wrenching, frightening best. Mythic in scope and provocative in lyrical power, the highly recommended Twilight is one of those novels you will not soon forget, one that you will favorably compare to the very best of William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor and Erskine Caldwell."
Book Page

"Gay knows full well what he’s doing, pulling readers into a small-town Southern nightmare so intense it verges on the surreal."
Seattle Times

"Twilight is almost textbook Southern Gothic, with its elements of the grotesque and perverse, its psychological extremes and its fixations on violence and sex. Gay successfully uses this form’s ability to unsettle readers, forcing them to see anew darker aspects of humanity."
Washington Post Book Review

"Twilight is full of beautiful prose. . . .[T]his excellent novel of a vanished world is as modern as they come, speaking to all of us."
Paste Magazine

"William Gay’s twisted and tantalizing third novel successfully torques screws already tight from the start."
Washington Post Book World

"Lyrical and mournful…a richly memorable story of loss and redemption."
Atlanta Journal-Constitution