This lyrical tale of evil, loss, and redemption is a stunning addition to the Southern gothic tradition of Flannery O'Connor and Harry Crews.A Choir of Ill Children is the startling story of Kingdom Come, a decaying, swamp backwater that draws the lost, ill-fated, and damned.Since his mother's disappearance and his father's suicide, Thomas has cared for his three brothers-conjoined triplets with separate bodies but one shared brain-and the town's only industry, the Mill.Because of his family's prominence, Thomas is feared and respected by the superstitious swamp folk. Granny witches cast hexes while Thomas's childhood sweetheart drifts through his life like a vengeful ghost and his best friend, a reverend suffering from the power of tongues, is overcome with this curse as he tries to warn of impending menace. All Thomas learns is that "the carnival is coming."
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1 . Beautifully written southern gothic
Posted January 22, 2010 by Todd D. , San DiegoExcellent book, beautifully written, one of the best books I have read in a while. Even if you are not into the southern gothic genre dont pass this one by for five bucks. While I was reading it I felt like quoting lines from the book to the people around me.
December 31, 2002
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Excerpt from A Choir of Ill Children by Tom Piccirilli
WE MOVE IN SPASMS.
My brothers because they are conjoined at the frontal lobe, and me -- because for me there is no other way to continue moving.
They have three throats and three bodies, three intertwined minds and many feelings, but only one voice. They even have a lover, Dodi Coots, who sleeps at the foot of their king-size bed with the back of her hand brushing Sebastian's ankle. Her breath is tinged with bourbon and chocolate, a few strands of hair wafting against the corners of her mouth.
She does for them now what I always did for them -- empties their bedpans, feeds each separate mouth, helps them into their fresh pajamas, gives them sponge baths, and assists them in brushing their own teeth, which remain white and perfect from what I can see.
They dream, sweating with their immense brow furrowed, and they tell me their fantasies in whispers. Each mouth forms a different syllable, framing an independent idea, with an individual limit of emotion. Sebastian is full of malice, Jonah with regret, and Cole speaks of love and nothing but love, no matter how hideous his words. They murdered a six-year-old child, or so they said. They're vague about it. On occasion they make it sound like they killed him, and at other times it seems they only discovered him. I can find no body or evidence, no reports of a missing kid, while I listen to their murmured descriptions every night, and still Cole speaks of love.
It's happened before. I once found a dead boy in the swamp.
My brothers face one another with no need to move their lips, conversing inside the single massive bald head and fractured mind. Silently they argue and debate and agree, lying on the bed, nostrils flaring and their hands sometimes flapping. Since birth they've stared into each other's eyes, sharing the same blood flow and coursing neurochemicals. They have only one epiphysis cerebri, also known as the pineal gland, which was called the "third eye" by ancient peoples who believed it to have mystical properties.