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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Night Country

The Night Country

A Novel

Stewart O'Nan

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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A ghost story that begins in everyday tragedy, from a distinctly American master of both forms: a "scary, sad, funny . . . mesmerizing read" (Stephen King)

At Midnight on Halloween in a cloistered New England suburb, a car carrying five teenagers leaves a winding road and slams into a tree, killing three of them. One escapes unharmed, another suffers severe brain damage. A year later, summoned by the memories of those closest to them, the three that died come back on a last chilling mission among the living.

A strange and unsettling ghost story, The Night Country creeps through the leaf-strewn streets and quiet cul-de-sacs of one bedroom community, reaching into the desperately connected yet isolated lives of three people changed forever by the accident: Tim, who survived yet lost everything; Brooks, the cop whose guilty secret has destroyed his life; and Kyle's mom, trying to love the new son the doctors returned to her. As the day wanes and darkness falls, one of them puts a terrible plan into effect, and they find themselves caught in a collision of need and desire, watched over by the knowing ghosts.

Macabre and moving, The Night Country elevates every small town's bad high school crash into myth, finding the deeper human truth beneath a shared and very American tragedy. As in his highly-prized Snow Angels and A Prayer for the Dying, once again Stewart O'Nan gives us an intimate look at people trying to hold on to hope, and the consequences when they fail.

Connecticut Book Awards, Winner

Excerpt from The Night Country by Stewart O'Nan. Copyright © 2003 by Stewart O'Nan. To be published in October, 2003 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.


COME, DO YOU HEAR IT? The wind-murmuring in the eaves, scouring...

Praise for The Night Country

“In The Night Country, Stewart O'Nan has concocted a twisted, mischievous little tale of the hereafter, told with his signature unlikely mix of meticulousness and brio. He is without question one of the strongest writers of our generation.” —Jennifer Egan

“On Halloween night, the anniversary of tragedy, three teenage ghosts tell a moving story of a tragic car crash. Only Stewart O'Nan has the audacity and skill to reveal the secrets of small town life in such a deft manner. The book rockets to its inevitable surprise like a high speed chase. The Night Country is a gothic novel for the twenty-first century.” —Chris Offutt

“The perfect ghost story for a contemporary Halloween, The Night Country follows its grousing, observant, funny teenage revenants from the graveyard to the Dunkin' Donuts and convenience stores of a wounded, well-off Connecticut town as they take care of some grim and unfinished business, demonstrating along the way that the horror novel and literature can live quite happily within a single set of covers.” —Peter Straub

“In The Night Country, Stewart O'Nan crafts a po-mo version of Poe at his best. The unlucky band of teens who haunt the scenes of their lives and demise touchingly sift through the shimmering residue of the past as well as the countless ghostly narratives that saturate our still Gothic culture. The book is self-consciously creepy and that makes it even creepier. It is also heartstopping at the same time it is… More…

“In The Night Country, Stewart O'Nan has concocted a twisted, mischievous little tale of the hereafter, told with his signature unlikely mix of meticulousness and brio. He is without question one of the strongest writers of our generation.” —Jennifer Egan

“On Halloween night, the anniversary of tragedy, three teenage ghosts tell a moving story of a tragic car crash. Only Stewart O'Nan has the audacity and skill to reveal the secrets of small town life in such a deft manner. The book rockets to its inevitable surprise like a high speed chase. The Night Country is a gothic novel for the twenty-first century.” —Chris Offutt

“The perfect ghost story for a contemporary Halloween, The Night Country follows its grousing, observant, funny teenage revenants from the graveyard to the Dunkin' Donuts and convenience stores of a wounded, well-off Connecticut town as they take care of some grim and unfinished business, demonstrating along the way that the horror novel and literature can live quite happily within a single set of covers.” —Peter Straub

“In The Night Country, Stewart O'Nan crafts a po-mo version of Poe at his best. The unlucky band of teens who haunt the scenes of their lives and demise touchingly sift through the shimmering residue of the past as well as the countless ghostly narratives that saturate our still Gothic culture. The book is self-consciously creepy and that makes it even creepier. It is also heartstopping at the same time it is heartbreaking.” —Michael Martone

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Reviews from Goodreads

Stewart O'Nan

Stewart O’Nan's novels include Last Night at the Lobster, The Night Country, and Prayer for the Dying. His novel Snow Angels was the basis of the 2007 film of the same name. He is also the author of the nonfiction books The Circus Fire and, with Stephen King, the bestselling Faithful. Granta named him one of the Twenty Best Young American Novelists. He lives in Pittsburgh.

image of Stewart O'Nano
Copyright Amy Etra

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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