Holland and Niles Perry are identical thirteen-year-old twins. They are close, close enough, almost, to read each other’s thoughts, but they couldn’t be more different. Holland is bold and mischievous, a bad influence, while Niles is kind and eager to please, the sort of boy who makes parents proud. The Perrys live in the bucolic New England town their family settled centuries ago, and as it happens, the extended clan has gathered at its ancestral farm this summer to mourn the death of the twins’ father in a most unfortunate accident. Mrs. Perry still hasn’t recovered from the shock of her husband’s gruesome end and stays sequestered in her room, leaving her sons to roam free. As the summer goes on, though, and Holland’s pranks become increasingly sinister, Niles finds he can no longer make excuses for his brother’s actions.
Thomas Tryon’s best-selling novel about a homegrown monster is an eerie examination of the darkness that dwells within everyone. It is a landmark of psychological horror that is a worthy descendent of the books of James Hogg, Robert Louis Stevenson, Shirley Jackson, and Patricia Highsmith.
About the Author
Thomas Tryon (1926–1991) was born in Hartford, Connecticut into a family whose New England roots stretch back to the seventeenth century. After serving in the navy during World War II , he attended Yale, and upon graduation began an acting career that would take him from a made-for-television Disney western to Hollywood, where he was featured in several B movies as well as Otto Preminger’s The Cardinal. Preminger’s treatment of Tryon was so cruel as to become a Hollywood legend, and Tryon turned to writing. His first book, The Other (1971), was an immediate success, spending more than six months on the New York Times best-seller list and allowing him to quit acting for good; a film adaptation, with a screenplay by Tryon and directed by Robert Mulligan, appeared in 1972. Tryon wrote two more novels set in the fictional Pequot Landing of The Other, Harvest Home (1973) and Lady (1974), before turning to works like All That Glitters (1986), that explore the dark side of the golden age of Hollywood. At the time of his death Tryon was working on a historical trilogy set in early nineteenth-century Connecticut.
Dan Chaon’s most recent book is Stay Awake, a short-story collection. He is the author of the novels You Remind Me of Me and Await Your Reply, as well as of the story collections Fitting Ends and Among the Missing, which was a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award. His stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize Anthologies, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. He teaches at Oberlin College, where he is the Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing and Literature.