A young surgical assistant faces his doppelgänger in a chilling tale featuring Edgar Allan Poe and a “lost” Poe story.
In his third stand-alone book of The American Novels series, Norman Lock recounts the story of a young Philadelphian, Edward Fenzil, who, in the winter of 1844, falls under the sway of two luminaries of the nineteenth-century grotesque imagination: Thomas Dent Mütter, a surgeon and collector of medical “curiosities,” and Edgar Allan Poe. As Fenzil struggles against the powerful wills that would usurp his identity, including that of his own malevolent doppelgänger, he loses his mind and his story to another.
The Port-Wine Stain is a gothic psychological thriller whose themes are possession, identity, and storytelling that the master, Edgar Allan Poe, might have been proud to call his own.
Norman Lock is the award-winning author of novels, short fiction, and poetry, as well as stage and radio plays. He lives in Aberdeen, New Jersey, where he is at work on the next books of The American Novels series.
Select Praise for Norman Lock’s The American Novels Series
“Shimmers with glorious language, fluid rhythms, and complex insights.” —NPR
“Our national history and literature are Norman Lock’s playground in his dazzling series, The American Novels. . . . [His] supple, elegantly plain-spoken prose captures the generosity of the American spirit in addition to its moral failures, and his passionate engagement with our literary heritage evinces pride in its unique character.” —Washington Post
“Lock writes some of the most deceptively beautiful sentences in contemporary fiction. Beneath their clarity are layers of cultural and literary references, profound questions about loyalty, race, the possibility of social progress, and the nature of truth . . . to create something entirely new—an American fable of ideas.” —Shelf Awareness
“[A] consistently excellent series. . . . Lock has an impressive ear for the musicality of language, and his characteristic lush prose brings vitality and poetic authenticity to the dialogue.” —Booklist
On The Boy in His Winter
“[Lock] is one of the most interesting writers out there. This time, he re-imagines Huck Finn’s journeys, transporting the iconic character deep into America’s past—and future.” —Reader’s Digest
On American Meteor
“[Walt Whitman] hovers over [American Meteor], just as Mark Twain’s spirit pervaded The Boy in His Winter. . . . Like all Mr. Lock’s books, this is an ambitious work, where ideas crowd together on the page like desperate men on a battlefield.” —Wall Street Journal
On The Port-Wine Stain
“Lock’s novel engages not merely with [Edgar Allan Poe and Thomas Dent Mütter] but with decadent fin de siècle art and modernist literature that raised philosophical and moral questions about the metaphysical relations among art, science and human consciousness. The reader is just as spellbound by Lock’s story as [his novel’s narrator] is by Poe’s. . . . Echoes of Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and Freud’s theory of the uncanny abound in this mesmerizingly twisted, richly layered homage to a pioneer of American Gothic fiction.” —New York Times Book Review
On A Fugitive in Walden Woods
“A Fugitive in Walden Woods manages that special magic of making Thoreau’s time in Walden Woods seem fresh and surprising and necessary right now. . . . This is a patient and perceptive novel, a pleasure to read even as it grapples with issues that affect the United States to this day.” —Victor LaValle, author of The Ballad of Black Tom and The Changeling
On The Wreckage of Eden
“The lively passages of Emily [Dickinson’s]’s letters are so evocative of her poetry that it becomes easy to see why Robert finds her so captivating. The book also expands and deepens themes of moral hypocrisy around racism and slavery. . . . Lyrically written but unafraid of the ugliness of the time, Lock’s thought-provoking series continues to impress.” —Publishers Weekly
On Feast Day of the Cannibals
“Lock does not merely imitate 19th-century prose; he makes it his own, with verbal flourishes worthy of [Herman] Melville.” —Gay & Lesbian Review
On American Follies
“Ragtime in a fever dream. . . . When you mix 19th-century racists, feminists, misogynists, freaks, and a flim-flam man, the spectacle that results might bear resemblance to the contemporary United States.” —Library Journal (starred review)
On Tooth of the Covenant
“Splendid. . . . Lock masters the interplay between nineteenth-century [Nathaniel] Hawthorne and his fictional surrogate, Isaac, as he travels through Puritan New England. The historical details are immersive and meticulous.” —Foreword Reviews (starred review)