book cover of A Choir of Ill Children

A Choir of Ill Children

(2003)
A novel by

 
 
Publisher's Weekly
In this compelling Southern Gothic, Piccirilli (whose 2002 novel The Night Class has grabbed the Stoker for Best Novel) presents a searing portrait of twisted souls trapped in a wasteland. Thomas, the wealthiest inhabitant of the swamp-infested county of Kingdom Come, a bastion of superstition and ignorance where he's simultaneously reviled and revered, lives with his brothers, conjoined triplets sharing a single brain who act as a sort of Delphic oracle. Thomas also shares a platonic relationship with his wife Maggie: the two were married by his best friend Drub, a black preacher with a penchant for nudity and prophecy. Into this jambalaya intrudes a northern film student (who falls in love with one of the triplets), a sexually precocious young girl from the swamps and a "dog kicker" who terrorizes Kingdom Come. When the local granny witches become agitated and accuse Thomas of neglecting his duties to the land, you can just bet there's plenty of trouble ahead. Piccirilli masterfully increases the tension by playing with stereotypes and manipulating the flaws of his subjects' characters, creating a world where what happens on the outside is a pale reflection of what goes on inside. As such, the novel will appeal both to genre fans and to readers of Flannery O'Connor and even of William Faulkner. James Lee Burke and Harry Crews devotees should also take note. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Who'd want to miss a rat-ridden backwater southern swamp novel with triplets joined at the frontal lobe to one massive ten-pound brain, each brother with his own identity and yet using the one brain to carry on psychic spitspat with each other? Three throats, three bodies to be fed, but only one voice, with each triplet speaking one syllable or word at a time: malicious Sebastian, regretful Jonah, and lovewild Cole, who nonetheless at times speaks hideously. Dodi Coots, daughter of conjure woman Velma Coots, has been traded to the family in return for older brother Thomas's digging screwworms out of the ears of Velma's cows. Dodi sleeps at the foot of the triplets' bed and cares for their bedpans and other needs-all rather Faulknerian? Caretaker Thomas tells their story. The triplets and Thomas own The Mill and are the richest folks in Pott County's Kingdom Come, where they're cursed and revered; however, their father suicided into The Mill's machinery-or did he?-rather than face life in their "gorgeous antediluvian mansion," as it's described by Sarah, a young filmmaker making a student production about the triplets with her cameraman Fred. In the eyes of God, Thomas was truly married to Maggie, with whom he has never shared a kiss, at age nine, by Drabs Bibbler, a black boy now Thomas's best friend. Drabs has the gift and epileptic curse of tongues, which always comes over him after twenty minutes with Thomas. Drabs, now 29 with five bastard kids, walks around naked and loves Maggie, while Jonah loves Sarah. And you won't want to miss the flaming silver dead kid who walks around with skimmer dragonflies and mosquitoes on his eyes and mouth. Or the attic, always a nice place for the deadto snooze. You'll want to know where the brothers' lost mother is-and it'll remind you of "A Rose for Emily." Lyrical, ghastly, first-class horror.

Genre: Horror
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Used availability for Tom Piccirilli's A Choir of Ill Children

Hardback Editions

March 2003 : USA Hardback
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Title: A Choir of Ill Children
Author(s): Tom Piccirilli
ISBN: 1-892389-58-4 / 978-1-892389-58-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


2003 : USA Hardback
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Title: A Choir of Ill Children
Author(s): Tom Piccirilli
ISBN: 1-892389-59-2 / 978-1-892389-59-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Night Shade
Availability: Amazon   


Paperback Editions

June 2004 : USA Mass Market Paperback
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Title: A Choir of Ill Children: A Novel
Author(s): Tom Piccirilli
ISBN: 0-553-58719-6 / 978-0-553-58719-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Bantam
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

June 2004 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition
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Title: A Choir of Ill Children: A Novel
Author(s): Tom Piccirilli
Publisher: Bantam
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA