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Twilight: A Novel

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,509 Ratings  ·  231 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 3,000)
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Oct 09, 2014 Lawyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Not for the squeamish.
Recommended to Lawyer by: The Author
Twilight: William Gay's Novel of Madness and Murder

“There’s folks you just don’t need. You’re better off without em. Your life is just a little better because they ain’t in it.”

 photo WilliamGay_zpscb297bea.jpg
William Gay, October 27, 1941-February 23, 2012, Hohenwald, TN

I had the good fortune to meet William Gay on two occasions. The first was on his book tour with Provinces of Night. I had read The Long Home when it appeared in paperback, recognized there was a special voice that had burst on the scene, and acquired a
Paquita Maria Sanchez
May 05, 2013 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
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
Jan 24, 2014 Anthony Vacca rated it really liked it
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
Kirk Smith
Jul 18, 2014 Kirk Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Wayne Barrett
Mar 13, 2016 Wayne Barrett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"He figured somewhere in these territories there was an enormous madhouse whose keeper had thrown up his hands in disgusted defeat and flung wide the portals so these twisted folk could descend like locusts on the countryside.” ~William Gay

Suspicious of an undertakers internment of their father, a brother and sister take it upon themselves to discover if he was buried properly or not. They find the answer to their question and a whole lot more. A crazed mortician and a career killer put on a cha
Diane Barnes
Oct 02, 2014 Diane Barnes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"It is true this world holds mysteries you do not want to know."

My God, what a good book this was! I am quoting another reviewer with that statement, but that speaks my feelings perfectly. Impossible to speak of plot, but William Gay takes us into the minds of madmen, and the relatively sane, perfectly normal people forced to deal with them. He does this in words and sentences so beautiful and intricate that, even when reading furiously to see what happens next, you must slow down to appreciate
Jun 23, 2015 Ctgt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
You know when somethin' bad happens, how folks kind of console one another? They say, well, it could of been worse. This or that could of happened. Well, not this time. Believe it. I am absolutely the worst thing that can happen to you.

If you are looking for a book to read this month of October and you're not really a horror type of reader, you might want to give this a try. No zombies, vampires, soul sucking demons or werewolves. On the other hand, if you are a horror lover, don't discount this
"When I get up you're graveyard dead, he said."

William Gay's Twilight has been unread on my Kindle for almost a year now. This is the last of his three books I've read and I didn't have the nerve to end my journey until now. A spectacular and ultra creepy story of an undertaker misbehaving and the ultimate revenge chasing through the hidden bowels of the mysterious Harrikin - woods I would not like to find myself lost within. Sutter is the ultimate bad guy and scared the living shit out of me. G
Jun 18, 2013 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: southern
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!
Diane S ☔
Nov 23, 2014 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully written, creepy, dark but so atmospheric.
Words cannot do justice to my admiration for William Gay (although I may attempt a longer review at some point). I bow down to him in "we are not worthy" style.
The mans' writing encapsulates literally everything I look for in a novel, and with "Twilight" he's bang on the money again. Strong storyline and characters, smart and sassy dialogue, all imbued with an enviable timeworn wisdom, and delivered in the leanest yet most eloquent prose imaginable. Perhaps he might not have admitted it himself,
Oct 02, 2015 Melki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hillbilly-noir
Believe it. I am absolutely the worst thing that can ever happen to you.

This is a marvelous Southern-gothic fairy tale. (That doesn't mean it should be read to the kiddies at night, unless they didn't get enough of that kissing-a-dead-girl-necrophilia in Snow White.) A boy is lost in a deep, dark woods; a predator relentlessly tailing him. The youngster is helped by some almost mystical forest dwellers, yet the villain is tireless in his dogged pursuit.

Very little sunlight is allowed to filter
Larry Bassett
“Twilight” is my first William Gay and a rare read in the Horror genre for me. I am reading it because it is the October, 2014, Moderator’s Choice for the GR discussion group On the Southern Literary Trail. Halloween, you know? It was also available cheap on Kindle. I probably wouldn’t have selected it to read except all those factors came together! And I was feeling bold, brave, and willing to try something different.

The book is appropriately spooky with some verbiage that will catch your atten
Mark Staniforth
May 17, 2013 Mark Staniforth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sep 18, 2012 Mike rated it liked it
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
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
Mar 22, 2008 Drew rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Feb 09, 2009 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The 12 year old girls
who expect to find vampires
will find something worse.
Apr 01, 2012 Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Colin McKay Miller
Dec 10, 2008 Colin McKay Miller rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels
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
Doug H
Jun 03, 2015 Doug H rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based on the quality of the writing in his short story collection I Hate To See That Evening Sun Go Down: Collected Stories, I expected this to be much better than it was. I enjoyed it, but not nearly as much as I'd hoped I would. Gay's descriptive writing is unique and evocative and his regional vemacular is spot on, but the characters here felt flat and stereotypical - a strange thing, given the space for development allotted in this longer format and considering how realistic and very well de ...more
Jul 02, 2012 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 27, 2012 Jamie rated it it was amazing
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.
Carl R.
May 16, 2012 Carl R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jul 30, 2015 Craig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
"It is true this world holds mysteries you do not want to know." And this book sheds a light on them...all the rationale I'll ever need for cremation.

The interesting thing is that "evil" is hard to peg down. Moral outrage would have the reader distracted by one character in particular, but the Southern Gothic has the reader questioning everyone's motives. Debauchery, blackmail, contract killing, rape, dirty cops...the world of the Harrikin is a deep and dark forest, indeed.

That being said, the f
This is my first exposure to William Gay's writing. He has a distinct voice. Wow! This book is definitely not everybody's slug of bourbon. Pretty rough material. As the book wended it's way I couldn't resist thinking of it being made into a film. I immediately cast Billy Bob Thornton in one of the lead roles. Sutter. I can't imagine who to cast in the other roles. It is likely too dark of material for a film anyway. I listened to the audio version of this book and I think that enhanced the exper ...more
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.
Sep 02, 2009 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great dark story, with perhaps a little too much tip of the hat to Cormac McCarthy. I was wondering if it was just me til I saw the word "playpretty" in Twilight, and remembered seeing it (in a really dark dark scene) in Children of God. Still, while both Gay and McCarthy both owe that great god Pan, Mr. Faulkner, Gay still holds his own in a Hansel and Gretel tale-gone-mad
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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.
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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.” 22 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.” 6 likes
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