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Ronald Kidd - October 2019

Halloween with Poe and Clarke

Halloween is coming soon, and the perfect creepy companions for that day are Edgar Allan Poe and Harry Clarke.   

You can spend time with Edgar Allan Poe by reading my novel Room of Shadows. In it, a twisted, enraged version of Poe calling himself “the Raven” is summoned back to life in modern-day Baltimore by the anger of the narrator, thirteen-year-old David Cray.

The Raven stalks the streets, hunting for David and his friend Libby Morales, in the process reenacting scenes from some of Poe’s most blood-curdling stories.

Here’s book information and a reader's guide.

So, you might wonder, who is Harry Clarke? And what does he have to do with Poe?

Clarke was an artist, but not just any artist. My wife Yvonne and I stumbled across his work on a trip to Ireland, when we wandered into a little church in Dingle, the Chapel of the Sacred Heart at the old convent of the Presentation Sisters.

The sisters were gone, but they had left twelve stained glass windows by Harry Clarke—backlit images bursting with color and life, one of which is shown below. Mesmerized by their beauty, we learned that Clarke, who lived and worked in the early twentieth century, was Ireland’s preeminant stained glass artist and a brilliant book illustrator.

A few days ago I found out just how brilliant. I came across an article showing Clarke’s illustrations for a rare 1933 edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination. I’ve included a few examples here (top, left, and below), and you can find more of the illustrations by linking to the articleAs you can see, Clarke’s strange, haunting work is the perfect complement to Poe.

Shudder! Enjoy! Happy Halloween!   

   

Scary Book Reviews

Speaking of Halloween, one of the all-time great apocalyptic scarefests is Stephen King’s The Stand. When I recently finished Chuck Wendig’s Wanderers—a back-to-the-wall novel involving artificial intelligence, disease, and betrayal—I was stunned to realize that Wendig’s world-ending tale is at least as good, and possibly better. This fierce, compelling read gripped me from beginning to end.

A book that’s scary in a completely different way is Educated, by Tara Westover. For me, this jaw-dropping memoir reads like a story from another planet. 

Westover’s warped, abusive upbringing will wrench your heart out, then pin you to the pages as you follow her path through “home schooling,” Brigham Young University, Cambridge, and Harvard. All the while she fights a riptide of family betrayal that continually threatens to suck her back in. 

Tara Westover writes her account in simple, beautiful prose; nevertheless this is an authentic horror story. 

Now Available

  • Lord of the Mountain
    The “big bang” of country music in 1927 at Bristol, Tennessee.
    Read more
  • Room of Shadows
    Edgar Allan Poe returns and gets the glorious death he deserved.
    Read more
Learn about my books, plays, and music at ronaldkidd.com.
Download a sampler of chapters from three of my latest books.

Copyright © 2019 Ronald Kidd, All rights reserved.


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