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Who’d want to miss a rat-ridden backwater southern swamp novel with triplets joined at the frontal lobe to one massive ten-pound brain, each brother with his own identity and yet using the one brain to carry on psychic spitspat with each other?

Three throats, three bodies to be fed, but only one voice, with each triplet speaking one syllable or word at a time: malicious Sebastian, regretful Jonah, and lovewild Cole, who nonetheless at times speaks hideously. Dodi Coots, daughter of conjure woman Velma Coots, has been traded to the family in return for older brother Thomas’s digging screwworms out of the ears of Velma’s cows. Dodi sleeps at the foot of the triplets’ bed and cares for their bedpans and other needs—all rather Faulknerian? Caretaker Thomas tells their story. The triplets and Thomas own The Mill and are the richest folks in Pott County’s Kingdom Come, where they’re cursed and revered; however, their father suicided into The Mill’s machinery—or did he?—rather than face life in their “gorgeous antediluvian mansion,” as it’s described by Sarah, a young filmmaker making a student production about the triplets with her cameraman Fred. In the eyes of God, Thomas was truly married to Maggie, with whom he has never shared a kiss, at age nine, by Drabs Bibbler, a black boy now Thomas’s best friend. Drabs has the gift and epileptic curse of tongues, which always comes over him after twenty minutes with Thomas. Drabs, now 29 with five bastard kids, walks around naked and loves Maggie, while Jonah loves Sarah. And you won’t want to miss the flaming silver dead kid who walks around with skimmer dragonflies and mosquitoes on his eyes and mouth. Or the attic, always a nice place for the dead to snooze. You’ll want to know where the brothers’ lost mother is—and it’ll remind you of “A Rose for Emily.”

Lyrical, ghastly, first-class horror.

Pub Date: May 6th, 2003
ISBN: 1-892389-58-4
Page count: 244pp
Publisher: Night Shade
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2003


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