Updated: Apr 30, 2019
Give your best suggestion for an Estate name for your chance to have it featured in an upcoming story!
In 1898 Henry James published his novella, The Turn of the Screw. Over 120 years later, the story is included in high school and college curriculums around the world. The novella tells of an unnamed governess and the events that occurred at a secluded English manor, Bly. Is The Turn of the Screwa ghost story, or is it about a woman slowly losing her sanity? The book is arguably the greatest example of the unreliable narrator (a phrase that was not coined until 1961) in literature. I have been fascinated by the tale since my first reading, not only for its content for also for its haunting (pun intended) ambiguity.
In a brilliant essay on the novella originally published in The New Yorker, Brad Leithauser says
“The reader in effect becomes a jury of one. He or she must determine the governess’s guilt or innocence. Whatever judgment we ultimately form of her, the book amply fulfills its pledge, laid down in the first few pages, that nothing can touch it in terms of sheer “dreadful—dreadfulness.” It’s the darkest, richest ghost story I’ve ever read.”
Since imitation is the best form of flattery, I decided to spin a little yarn of my own that might leave readers debating. My novella, currently unnamed (more on that later), tells the story of Dalia Cromwell, a single woman grieving the recent death of her wife, Zadie. When a mysterious visitor, Mr. Slade, comes calling, claiming that something valuable is hidden in the home she and Zadie restored (think Andre¢Linoge from King’s Storm of the Century), Dalia becomes a prisoner in her own home. In one punishing night, Dalia must unravel the clues left behind by Zadie while reliving the memories leading up to her untimely death, and find a way to stop Slade.
Without revealing anything else, I hope the aftermath of Dalia and Slade’s evening will initiate some lively discussion. Now, about that title…
The house that Dalia and Zadie lovingly restore to its original splendor plays a big part in the story, and deserves a proper name. I expect the title of the book will include the name of the house. That’s where you come in. Submit a name that you feel worthy of a 100-year-old New England estate. I will pick the best entry, and the winner will receive a signed copy of the book, recognition in the acknowledgements, along with a signed limited edition of Josh Malerman’s, On This, The Day of the Pig.
Looking forward to your help!