Twilight: A Novel
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Twilight: A Novel

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  1,020 ratings  ·  170 reviews
From the acclaimed author of Provinces of Night, a Southern gothic novel about an undertaker who won t let the dead rest. 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...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 7th 2007 by MacAdam/Cage (first published October 20th 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,200)
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Paquita Maria Sanchez
Yeehaw! Cormac McCarthy Coen Brothers Ed Gein Red Riding Hood Macabre Cinema as text! This came out just slightly over one year after the novel No Country For Old Men, and even my idiot coworkers could manage to score middle-fair on an I.Q. Test drawing comparisons between the two, if pressed. The short time-frame between publication dates makes me wonder if poor ole Willy Gay is a victim of belatedly-executed good ideas. Shouldn't have taken that brief hunting trip after the first draft, mayhap...more
Anthony Vacca
On two occasions (that I can remember) I have casually dated girls who have worked as mortuary assistants. At the time the thought never really crossed my mind to ask them why they wanted to work around dead people, and in all honesty it didn’t seem to really be that big of a deal to me. Sure, I noted the fact, but in an offhand manner so that later, if I kept seeing this particular girl (which I didn’t, in either case, but for reasons not involving dead bodies) I could always ask her about it....more
From page 1 you're thinking this is a messed up book. Loved the book! You keep thinking how could it get any worse, oh, but it does. It's a can't put down type of book. Southern gothic at its best. Twisted!
Justin Haynes
William Gay's third novel TWILIGHT is another romp-stomping, wild-ass adventure through the backwoods of central Tennessee.

TWILIGHT is set in The Harrikin, a short distance away from Ackerman's Field, but all the familiar sights and sounds are there. We get to read about young Kenneth Tyler's coming of age as he is pursued by Granville Sutter through The Harrikin. We read about the demented undertaker Fenton Breece and his mixed up idea of how the dead should be treated. And we get to read about...more
Kirk Smith
God that was a Good Book! All my exuberance over in one shot and it deserves infinitely more. I can't find the energy to promote, I've reviewed too many fives and I'm worn thin. You see I've been abusing Goodreads and skimming the highest ratings off my To-Read list. Abusing it like good single-malt scotch, like five pounds of Godiva chocolate, like the best worst drugs. So just imagine me expounding volumes of praise.{imagine} A wonderful Ulysses like tale of being lost and hunted through the...more
Mark Staniforth
William Gay's third and final novel is a bleak, black slice of Southern Gothic that will hook you in for the whole haul. Gay has a blunt but thickly descriptive prose style that is perfectly suited to the rural landscape in which his characters languish. His story starts: They came up through the stand of cypress that shrouded the graveyard, the pickup hidden off the road in a chertpit clotted with inkblot bowers of honeysuckle.
It's not for the faint-hearted: Twilight tells the story of a pair o...more
Sep 18, 2012 Mike rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: southern fiction fans
Shelves: southern

1. Derivative. O’Connor and, especially, McCarthy are everywhere, but the prose lacks McCarthy’s flawless, tightly contained rhythm and O’Connor’s excellent pacing and characterizations. An imitation (which is undoubtedly too strong a word to use here, but I’m lazy) shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand, though, if the imitation is good, and in this case it is, unevenly and for the most part.
2. Often beautifully evocative, especially of the Southern wilds. The feel of them, while darkly distorted o...more
Colin McKay Miller
William Gay’s Twilight is the one teenage girls aren’t raving about. Thing is, it didn’t impress me much either.

The plot is a simple cat-and-mouse chase game: Set in the 1950’s, siblings Corrie and Kenneth Tyler want revenge on the town’s undertaker, Fenton Breece, for plundering their father’s grave. When Kenneth Tyler steals the undertaker’s briefcase, he finds photographic evidence of necrophilia, but before fully getting to bribe him, Breece sets hired murderer Granville Sutter loose on the...more
Mar 22, 2008 Drew rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Faulkner, O'Connor
Recommended to Drew by: Landmark Books
There is a fantastic bookstore in downtown Franklin, TN, called Landmark Books, owned by an extremely knowledgeable lover of books named Joel. He specializes in First Edition, and talked me into buying this author signed First. William Gay is not for the faint of heart. He deals with the darker sides of humanity through the southern gothic tradition. He does this while telling a great story, ie Steinbeck. Stephen King said in his year end review that this is the best book of 2007. I recommend it...more
The 12 year old girls
who expect to find vampires
will find something worse.
I read about this book in the author's obituary and just got around to reading it now.
As much as I hate this phrase I have to say I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN!
I don't necessarily know if the author was trying to write a thriller or not but he very well succeeded where other regulars of the thriller genre have failed. It was such a bizarre story with very memorable characters that I stuck with it just to see what would happen next.
"Sticking with it" is the best way to describe the author's styl...more
Carl Brush
William Gay died recently. Died suddenly. Just my age. I’d never heard of him (bad news for me) but a friend sent me the news and directed me toward some titles she liked. Twilight’s not one of those, but I’ll get to them. In the meantime, there’s nothing wrong with this as an archetype of southern gothic.

Like (as I understand it) most all of Gay’s fiction, Twilight is set in rural Tennessee in the 50’s. Kenneth Tyler and his sister, Corrie, had a hard time of growing up, what with a drunk, chi...more
This was a book club pick. I quite enjoyed it. It's set in the '50s, and the premise, as the Goodreads blurb notes, involves desecration of dead bodies in a small Southern town, but most of it is about a protagonist's desperate flight to report it to someone who will listen before he's caught and killed. Not too much more I can say plotwise without venturing into spoiler territory.

Since I didn't care for the last book club pick, I was pretty stoked to have enjoyed this one. The writing is strong...more
Gay writes a chilling southern gothic fairytale with elements of Little Red Riding Hood, Night of the Hunter, No Country for Old Men, and early Nick Cave. Gay’s prose is clearly influenced by Cormac McCarthy and points can be derivative and near parody at times, but for the most part is a more fluid and readable take on the master (reminds me of the similar William Carlos Blake). But Gay has his own story to tell, a mad funeral home director setting a deranged criminal on two innocents. Lots of...more
Ned Mozier
This rather macabre story is a treat, especially the point of view of the kids as they confront with courage the terrors of humankind. The villains are subtly and skillfully developed. It's a page turner too, set in the south. Interested to see what Matt thinks.
Ian Mapp
A brand new author to me and its always a nice surprise when you pick up a new writer and enjoy his work.

For some reason, this reminded me of a Nick Cave early album. Suppose it was American Gothic themes. A straightforward tale of unreliable undertakers who do odd things with bodies, whiskey bootleggers, innocent kids and pursuit by a larger than life bad guy (who would be played by Dennis Hopper in the film version).

The Tylers - Kenneth and Sister - think that the underaker (Fenton) is not bur...more
I went on a short road trip with my boyfriend, and we stopped at the library to grab some books-on-CD to listen to during the drive. I had thought he wouldn't like the stuff I'd pick (since I read so much based on the likelihood of pretty dresses) so I asked him to come in with me. But since we were already running late, he said "just don't get Twilight, okay?". So....when I saw this, I had to throw it in just to mess with him.

And of course he picked it to listen to during the trip, even though...more
Best book of the year so far for me. It’s a damn shame William Gay is no longer with us to spin great yarns like this one. Set in rural Tennessee in the early 1950s, Twilight is story of young Corrie and Kenneth Tyler, who suspect that the local undertaker, Fenton Breece, is up to no good. They prove their theory correct by digging up a few graves, including their father’s. After staking out Breece’s home and stealing a briefcase, they find evidence of even more despicable behavior. When they at...more
Stephen King says: "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 gruesom...more
No, not THAT Twilight.

A very, very dark Southern Gothic novel, which (in my opinion) reads like a worshipful love letter to Cormac McCarthy. There is SO much that had to be inspired by McCarthy here, not just the style but so many aspects of the characters. But while William Gay is a talented writer, and I would probably read him again, Cormac McCarthy is one of my very favorite writers and a damn high bar to measure up against.

In short, this novel had all the oddity and darkness of human natu...more
Anson Mount
This ain't the "Twilight" about the cute, teenage vampires. This is something entirely different and much more harrowing. A brother and sister uncover their father's grave to discover what they had long suspected: the local mortician has a sick penchant for disfiguring the town's dead. The mortician, finding himself blackmailed by this duo, decides to hire a local outlaw to retrieve the damning evidence and kill the kids. EXTREMELY exciting. William Gay's prose is some of the best poetry I've ev...more
William Gay's novel knocked my socks off. Many reviewers have noted the influences of Flannery O'connor and William Faulkner on his writing and I certainly see that, but his voice is distinctive. While there are some gruesome elements to the story, it is very entertaining overall. The plot is a little clumsy at times, but there are passages with such beautiful use of language that you want to read them over several times to savor them. Discovering authors and books like this is what keeps me exc...more
The plot of this one is a little simple for my tastes, that cat-and-mouse chase, but its language alone makes it a shortlisted favorite. Those gorgeous, transcendent passages that Cormac McCarthy manages every couple of pages seemed to pervade every single paragraph of this one. I wanted to read more scenes with the mortician, but it's still great southern gothic. Read it, tell your friends, and be sure to clarify it's not the one of the same title about chaste vampires for tweens.
Benoit Lelievre
It really caught me off guard. I know there is more to this book than what I grasped and that there is more to William Gay than what he showed in this novel. It's a strange, wonderful and oh-so-very-overwhelming experience to read him. There is something very southern about TWILIGHT, more than with your typical southern novel. It would be real marvellous if it wasn't so damn grim. It was good, don't get me wrong, just an avalanche of data and sensations I was not ready to process.
It’s hard for me to write about this book without bringing in his other works, seeing how I’ve read all three now in the span of about a month of two. There are definite overlaps – as there are among works of any author; but here I almost feel like the story is too much the same, too much familiar ground covered… of perhaps I just shouldn’t have read all three back to back like this.

Don’t get me wrong. My reviews of Gay’s two other books still stand, and I still love his writing style, his expl...more
Literary Man
Dark, sexy, bruising poetry throughout its pages. If you are not interested in reading about a psychopathic undertaker and his necrophiliac urges, this is not a book for you. However, if you like stories about the perversity and beauty of the American South, or Tennessee in particular, this book will not disappoint you.
I can't read this book! I've tried twice now, with a lot of time in between and just cannot get past the first 30 or 40 pages. Yes, it's shocking and disgusting, but the prose is too drawn out for my taste. It's a shame because I have a feeling I may like where the book goes!
Started off great and sort of just lost it with some pretty average writing. Over all I did enjoy it though. It would have gotten one or two stars had it not been for the necrophiliac undertaker angle... I mean who doesn't love those guys?
It’s safe to say now, there is no chance of me not-loving a William Gay novel. There are only the slight variations to the extent which I love a William Gay novel.

Provinces > Twilight > Long Home, but only barely.
After the absolute bloodbath that was Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, I thought myself numb to most literary acts of violence and debauchery. Props to William Gay for creating fiction that can still make me shiver even as I read his books under the heat of the summer sun.

Following Gay's usual style, the main character, Kenneth Tyler, is a young southern boy in the middle of the 1900s, apparently without any sort of parent or guardian and up against evil itself in a harrowing coming-of-age. (Ga...more
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William Elbert Gay is the author of the novels Provinces of Night, The Long Home, and Twilight and the short story collection I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down. He is the winner of the 1999 William Peden Award and the 1999 James A. Michener Memorial Prize and the recipient of a 2002 Guggenheim Fellowship.
More about William Gay...
I Hate To See That Evening Sun Go Down: Collected Stories Provinces of Night The Long Home Wittgenstein's Lolita and The Iceman Time Done Been Won't Be No More

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“She was a page torn from a calendar, a year folded neatly and laid aside in some place you never look.” 19 likes
“Outside in the barnlot he looked up and the pale moon was directly over him and all-encompassing. It appeared to be lowering itself onto the earth and he could make out mountains and ranges of hills and hollows and dark shadowed areas of mystery he judged to be timber and he wondered what manner of beast thrived there and what their lives were like and the need to be there twisted in his heart like an old pain that will not dissipate.” 5 likes
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