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Gumbywan

Randolph "Dilda" Carter

A rant about books, horror, and the weird.  I sometimes take on my love/hate relationship with goodreads and Amazon.

Currently reading

Perchance to Dream: Selected Stories
Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, William Shatner
Progress: 140/336 pages
Pavane
Keith Roberts

Great "Sequel"

Usher's Passing - Robert R. McCammon

Written as a sort of sequel to The Fall of the House of Usher, Poe's tale, while not being an account of actual events, comes so close that Roderick Usher's brother accuses Poe of copying the true events.

 

Fast Forward to the 1980s and near Asheville, NC the location of the Usher estate, known simply as The Lodge, where the Ushers have lived for centuries.  The location is reminiscent of the Biltmore estate in Asheville although only as the location for the tale.

 

The horror writer Rix Usher (obviously McCammon's alter ego in this one) is the only Usher that does not live on the Estate having left years ago to pursue an independent career.  Nevertheless he is still afflicted by the Usher Curse, obviously based on Roderick's affliction in the Poe story and the only Usher that seems to age.  Rix is summoned back to the estate along with all the other Ushers to attend to their dying father Walen Usher.  Thus the background for the story.

 

McCammon's strength is usually characterization although I think he sacrifices some of that here, making a number of characters two-dimensional, in favor of a much more complicated and stronger plot than usual.  By midway through the book it seems that it will be almost impossible to bring all these threads together but McCammon clearly has an idea where he wants to go and sews things up nicely.  Unlike King, McCammon knows how to ALWAYS finish a tale well.  I do think with one or two changes the finish could have been more poignant but this isn't how McCammon ended his early novels.

 

I think this is one of McCammon's better early novels and although Boy's Life and Swan Song are hard to beat.  I would start with Swan Song if you are new to McCammon although you are going to immediately think it somewhat derivative of King.

 

Usher's Passing is a fun and thoughtful read.  All McCammon's novels are now available as e-books as Usher has been long out of print otherwise.  However, it is still possible to acquire a decent physical copy for a reasonable price on the secondary market.