Thursday, March 1, 2018

"The Storm King"

Brendan Duffy is an editor and the author of The Storm King and House of Echoes. In 2015, he was featured in Refinery29's "21 New Authors You Need to Know." He lives in New York, where he is at work on his next novel.

Duffy applied the Page 69 Test to The Storm King and reported the following:
The Storm King is carefully layered novel about a man who’s returning to his hometown after a long absence. The plot has many of interwoven elements, but the narrative’s spine is a murder mystery connected to two main timelines. Our protagonist, Nate, is a bit of an enigma when we begin, but we know that he has some darkness in his past: specifically that he did some bad things in his youth. Page 69 happens to be the last page in a chapter that’s set in his high school days, and articulates the motivation that drove Nate in the past and haunts him in the present:
There were true monsters here at the Lake. Lucy wasn’t one of them, and they didn’t infest the halls of the Night Ship. Beasts like Mr. Vanhouten and Owen’s mom were the real enemy. They infected this town—and like any disease, they had to be treated. Like the pain they caused, they had to be burned away.

“We’ll get him, Johnny,” Nate said.
The others turned to him.
“Your mom, too, Owen.” He felt his mouth crease into a smile.

“What do you mean?” Tom asked.

Nate decided that neither he nor his friends would ever be victims again.

He grinned because he understood that while misery was an affliction, wrath was a tool. While anguish was weakness, fury was power.

He smiled because at last he knew what to do with his unquenchable rage.
One of the recurring themes of The Storm King are the rippling effects of actions, and the event that precipitated this scene is the inciting incident for much of the book’s events.

I should also mention that this conversation Nate has with his friends takes place in the Night Ship, a colossal abandoned entertainment pier on the outskirts of town and one of my favorite parts of the book. The Storm King straddles several genres—mystery and crime, literary thriller and psychological suspense—but the Night Ship and the things that happen there flirt with horror and push right up to the border of magical realism. I love the kinds of books where conventional genres collide in interesting ways. I feel that approaching a book without being bound by genre conventions helps lays the foundation for a truly original story, which is what I hope I’ve delivered with The Storm King.
Visit Brendan Duffy's website.

Writers Read: Brendan Duffy.

--Marshal Zeringue