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Those Across the River Audio CD – Unabridged, September 6, 2011
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Failed academic Frank Nichols and his "wife," Eudora, have arrived in the sleepy Georgia town of Whitbrow, where Frank hopes to write a history of his family's old estate, the Savoyard Plantation, and the horrors that occurred there. An aunt Frank never knew bequeathed him a modest homestead, so he and Eudora take the opportunity to break ties with the past. But in a letter delivered after her death, his aunt warned Frank not to live in the house--a warning Frank ignores.
At first the quaint, rural ways of their new neighbors seem to be everything they wanted. But there is an unspoken dread that the townsfolk have lived with for generations. A presence that demands sacrifice.
It comes from the shadowy woods across the river, where the ruins of Savoyard still stand, where a longstanding debt of blood has never been forgotten--a debt that has been waiting patiently for Frank Nichols' homecoming.
As tensions mount, listeners will find themselves on the edge of their seats anticipating the spine-tingling conclusion to this stunning novel.
Buehlman is the most original voice in horror since Stephen King.
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"An unsettling brew of growing menace spiked with flashes of genuine terror--do not miss this chilling debut. Christopher Buehlman is a writer to watch. I look forward to hearing from him again. And soon."-- "F. Paul Wilson, New York Times bestselling author"
"Lures you into a different era, seduces you with eloquent prose and sensual period details, then clamps down on your jugular with lupine ferocity. An outstanding debut."-- "Hank Schwaeble, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Diabolical"
"What a great book. Incredible sense of time and place, tightening tension, the dread of the unfathomable...Those across the River is one of the best first novels I've ever read."-- "Charlaine Harris, #1 New York Times bestselling author"
"What a treat. Terrible and beautiful. As much F. Scott Fitzgerald as Dean Koontz. A graceful, horrific read."-- "Patricia Briggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author"
"Wonderfully eerie from start to finish--a novel sure to enthrall readers of all stripes."-- "Grant Blackwood, New York Times bestselling author"
A beautifully written story with a cast of Southern characters so real you can almost see the sweat roll down the page...What makes this such a remarkable debut are the finely drawn, believable characters.-- "Boston Herald"
Fans of novels like Salem's Lot...will find this story impossible to put down.-- "Suspense magazine"
Readers looking to have the pants scared right off of them won't find a better choice than this staggering debut novel.-- "RT Book Reviews (4 1/2 stars, Top Pick!)"
The prose is sublimely crafted and eminently quotable. Sentences dripped off the page like the sweat off the brows of the characters during the hot summer months, entwined around your mind like exotic dancers.-- "New York Journal of Books"
Unnerving depiction of small town creepiness and heathen savagery...Lusty, snappy writing.-- "Booklist"
About the Author
Christopher Buehlman is a writer and performer from St. Petersburg, Florida. The winner of the 2007 Bridport Prize for poetry, he is also the author of several plays, the historical fantasy novel Between Two Fires, and the acclaimed horror novel Those Across the River.
Mark Bramhall has won the prestigious Audie Award for best narration, more than thirty AudioFile Earphones Awards, and has repeatedly been named by AudioFile magazine and Publishers Weekly among their Best Voices of the Year. He is also an award-winning actor whose acting credits include off-Broadway, regional, and many Los Angeles venues as well as television, animation, and feature films. He has taught and directed at the American Academy of Dramatic Art.
- Publisher : Blackstone Audiobooks; Library ed. edition (September 6, 2011)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1455109843
- ISBN-13 : 978-1455109845
- Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.5 x 1.2 x 6.2 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #10,092,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on April 8, 2022
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Top reviews from the United States
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Every month, when the moon is full, an elected family in town sends two of their pigs festooned with ribbons and flowers across the river and turns them loose...
... the pigs are never seen again but their squeals can be heard all night long... When Frank inquires about this custom, he is told...
... The Legend of the Look-a-Roo...
The local legend goes something like this: When the moon is full, the Devil comes from the Megiddo woods across the river looking for a new soul to steal... and flesh to eat...
...but the Devil also likes to eat pigs because they have hooved feet like his... Don't ever go across the river at night and beware of the black dog called the Look-a-Roo... he is the Devil and if he sees you, you will die...
One-two... don't look at me Look-a-Roo
Three-four... who's'at scratchin' at my door?
Five-six... gotcha while you pick up sticks
Seven-eight... gotcha if you stay out late
Nine-ten... I'm never goin' home again
This is a creepy little story that I've read three times and will read again. It got off to a slow start so I removed 1/2 star but once you're past the first 25%, it really takes off and becomes a real page-turner.
I agree with one review that warned about spoilers so be careful what you read. I would compare this excellent novel to HARVEST HOME by Thomas Tryon. It's rare to find such an original horror story.
But there's also a horror story to be told here about what lurks in the woods, and what lurks in our past. Weirdly, the story even resonates with today's Black Lives Matter demonstrations, which makes it all the more fascinating -- and uncomfortable. And I can honestly say I the story went off in directions I was not able to predict, but which make perfect sense in retrospect. All in all, a tremendous read, both terrifying and tragic.
The novel appears to be a romance at first. The narrator, ex-war veteran Orville Frank Nichols, is in love with Eudora Lehman. They are escaping a scandal caused by their falling in love by moving to Whitbrow, a small town in Georgia. They had met during a faculty luncheon, after which they began an affair. When the affair was exposed, Nichols lost his faculty position at the University of M. Eudora filed for divorce from her tenured husband. Once they receive word her divorce has been approved, they intend to marry. Since this is shortly after World War I, they have been telling people they are already married while they live together. Meanwhile, they need new jobs.
Fortuitously, Frank received a letter notifying him he has inherited his aunt’s property in Whitbow. She recommends posthumously that he sell the house immediately in her instructions to him, but of course, he does not. He wants to write a book about one of the previous owners of the house, an ancestor of his who was a notorious slave owner with a reputation of severely abusing his slaves. Eudora, or ‘Dora’, is offered what was the aunt’s job of schoolteacher.
As they happily settle in, meeting the people of the small southern town of Whitbow, they become aware of the town’s superstitious aversion for a nearby area of the Megiddo forest ‘across the river’, as well as an annual event of sending two pigs into that area ceremonially. However, this year the townsfolk are debating whether the ceremony should be held - they are enduring an economic depression and money is scarce. Those two pigs could be sold and eaten by the townsfolk. They decide to do away with the ceremony.
Wrong choice. Very, very, wrong....
Top reviews from other countries
To tell much more of the plot would give away the final third of the book. The first two thirds is a real slow burner of a novel with not much happening, especially in the first half. The narrative keeps you reading though and the foreshadowing used works well when there isn't much happening. Its well written for a horror novel. When the action begins its very readable and I ripped through the final quarter of this book very quickly as I wanted to read how it turned out. It doesn't pull its punches and really keeps a fast pace when the action does happen. However, it is a slight disappointment that 'those across the river' are actually a fairly standard horror fayre rather than a new creation. It is good that horror's stock villains are written this well and in this way but I somehow expected something new or a twist. The ending may not please all but I liked the final passage and its open ended finish.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I was expecting something original and felt slightly let down when it wasn't. That said its slow burning approach and being set in the 30's helped to give it a different feel. I would recommend to horror fans and those who enjoy period Americana. If you can keep reading through the slow first hundred pages then you have a very enjoyable novel.
The main problem with this book, to me, is that it is very promising; it starts with very good expectations and then, it comes to nearly nothing.
It has a very original premiss, but then it fails to accomplish it.
First of all, there is the use of language. Language is the prime matter of a novel, if that fails, there can be no proper building of a literary work. And in this novel there is a mix of clearly overdone passages with others where there is much profanity. Profanity, in the correct context, adds to the value of a written piece, but in this novel it looks like the author is trying to be modern just by using bad words. This is something which I also found in «The Time Traveler's Wife» by Audrey Niffenegger, like: «Hey I use a lot of c**t and f**k, how modern I am!». In the same line I should say that most sex scenes seemed quite gratuitous to me, and inserted there to make the work more modern and audacious (failing at both). Although the gory scenes were better embedded -if slightly overdone-.
Following up, the main characters fail to cause any kind of empathy, so at the end of the novel I really did not care what happened to them. Well-built characters have to cause some reaction, whether good or bad. In this novel, they are very plain and lack internal logic. Their characterisation is very thin. Therefore, you finish up reading about people you do not really care about.
On the other hand, the building up of the climax, the creepy elements, the decaying atmosphere is very well written. Sometimes it is reminiscent of «Southern prose» like «Fried Green Tomatoes» or «Ya-ya Sisterhood», but, as I said, it fails to bloom miserably. Also, the treatment of the supernatural element is original and very well chosen. Refreshing after so many vampire novels.
In conclusion, I enjoyed reading the book in spite of it flaws. But I will not read it again; I gave it to a friend. It is a book I would recommend to borrow at a library or get the e-book version if that is cheap enough in your country. For a more rounded off read I would advise you to try Sarah Waters or Susan Hill.
Frank, der Ich-Erzähler von THOSE ACROSS THE RIVER, ist eine sehr sympathische Hauptfigur. Er ist von seinen Erlebnissen im Ersten Weltkrieg immer noch gezeichnet und hofft zusammen mit seiner Geliebten Eudora in Georgia ein neues Kapitel in seinem Leben aufzuschlagen.
Die Nebenfiguren in THOSE ACROSS THE RIVER gefallen mir ebenfalls, besonders Eudora, die eine erfrischende Beziehung zu Frank hat. Auch die Stadtbewohner haben mich überzeugt. Hier hat mir der geheimnisvolle Martin Cranmer am besten gefallen, der mehr über die Vorgänge im Wald zu wissen scheint, als er zugeben will.
Die Handlung von THOSE ACROSS THE RIVER hat mir im Großen und Ganzen gut gefallen. Christopher Buehlman schafft eine unheimliche und bedrückende Stimmung und die Bedrohung durch den Wald ist überzeugend dargestellt. Ich muss allerdings sagen, dass mich die Identität der Heimsuchungen aus dem Wald etwas enttäuscht hat, und auch das Ende des Romans hat sich für mich etwas überstürzt angefühlt, aber insgesamt bin ich durchaus zufrieden.
THOSE ACROSS THE RIVER ist stimmungsvoller Horror der alten Schule. Christopher Buehlman erfindet hier das Rad nicht neu, aber er kann unterhalten. Empfehlenswert!