Centipede Press is proud to announce the first edition: Alice Walks, the first novel to be published by esteemed writer Michael Aronovitz. The book has a full color wraparound dustjacket and four black and white interior illustrations by artist Samuel Araya.
The ghost story is perhaps the oldest form of weird literature, but we have come a long way from the old-time Gothic novels, where ghosts did little but appear in their shrouds clanking chains and uttering obscure prophecies. Today’s ghosts, if they are to be convincing and compelling, must be active in ways that the more genteel ghosts of the past could not bring themselves to be.
Aronovitz burst onto the contemporary horror scene with a scintillating short story collection, Seven Deadly Pleasures (2009), which contained, among other things, one of the most sheerly terrifying short stories in recent decades,
How Bria Died, along with a richly textured, 40,000 word novella,
Toll Booth, that fused horror and pathos in an inextricable union — the horror of death and guilt, the pathos of lives ruined in a single moment and dragged out in wretchedness and misery. It is many of these same features that Aronovitz brings to Alice Walks.
In the first place, there is Aronovitz’s mesmerizing prose style — a style that can take your breath away, even when, as here, it is narrated in the voice of a not notably intellectual teenager. But more than that, there is Aronovitz’s deep understanding of human life and human emotions — the emotions of a boy struggling to understand why his parents’ marriage seems to be unraveling; the emotions of a mother who does everything she can to hold her family together and finds that it seems insufficient; and, most keenly of all, the emotions of a father whose past derelictions have cast a baleful shadow over the present and future of his entire household. Even if there was no element of supernatural terror in Alice Walks, it would deserve to be read as a plangent document of a family’s inexorable descent into heartbreak and tragedy.