"Hats off to one of the most inventive writers of French literature. . . . Hubert Haddad concocts a colorful novel, funny and inventive, as clever as the Fox sisters themselves."Jean-François Delapré, Saint Christophe Bookstore
The Fox Sisters grew up outside of Rochester, NY, in a house with a reputation for being haunted, due to a series of strange "knockings" that plagued its inhabitants. Fed up with the sounds, the youngest of the sisters (aged twelve) challenged their ghost and ended up communicating with a spirit who had been murdered in the house and buried in the cellar.
The Fox Sisters became instantly famous for talking to the dead, launching the Spiritualist Movement. After taking Rochester by storm, they moved to New York where they were the most famous mediums of the time, performing séances for hundreds of peopleuntil it all fell apart. Yet, even today, the Fox Sisters are still considered to be the founders of one of the most popular religious movements in recent centuries.
Rich in historical detail, Rochester Knockings novelizes the rise and fall of these most infamous of mediums, and sheds a unique light on the impressionability and fragility of nineteenth-century America
Hubert Haddad was born in Tunisia, and is the author of dozens of works, including the novels Palestine (winner of the Prix des Cinq Continents de la Francophonie), Tango Chinois, and La Condition Magique (winner of the Grand Prix du Roman de la Société des Gens de Lettres).
Jennifer Grotz is the editor of Open Letter's poetry series, but is also a poet in her own right (The Needle, Cusp) and translates from French. Additionally, she is a professor of English, creative writing, and translation at the University of Rochester.
"Haddad's novel satisfies in ways similar to that of a great magic trick: an act that offers the audience a blend of fact and fiction, along with a presentation that constantly demands attention."Benjamin Woodard, Numéro Cinq
". . . [B]oth Haddad's prose and Jennifer Grotz's translation from the French, scattering delicious word choices like quiet little gems throughout a spellbinding narrative, reveal themselves as gorgeous."Asymptote
". . . [A] successful period-piece, all the more appealing for Haddad's willingness (and ability) to stretch the usual bounds of historical fiction."The Complete Review
"Masterfully written, Rochester Knockings is a haunting tale you won't be quick to forget."Coal Hill Review