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Northern Gothic: A Novel [Paperback]

Nick Mamatas
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 20 2001
Northern Gothic is the story of supernaturally crossed worlds -- Manhattan's Chelsea district of the present and New York during the Civil War draft riots. William, a young Irish immigrant trying to avoid the war, and Ahmadi, a gay man from the South trying to make it in the Big Apple, find their paths -- and destinies -- intertwined as William is sucked into the racist violence of the riots and Ahmadi is pulled inexorably into the past.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting first novel Aug. 20 2003
Nick Mamatas will probably gain popularity in increments and remain a cult writer for many years before achieving widespread recognition.
This is a more an interesting first novel than a great work of literature. It has its moments, but for the most part it's an interesting failure. The 1860s Draft Riot scenes deliver a nice tension. Will Patten is a scary character simply because you initially identify with him. Unfortunately Patten gets lost in the ghost story and the main character - Ahmadi Jenkins - gay dancer and victim of circumstances - takes over. Ahmadi is a dull character. He has no personality. Most of the book involves nasty things happening to Ahmadi and the lack of characterization undercuts any tension.
Buy this book if you're a diehard fan. If you're merely curious, buy another Mamatas book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, tough, and disturbing March 18 2003
Nick Mamatas infuses this "weird tale" that intersects New York's Civil War Draft Riots with a contemporary gay black man's life in Greenwich Village with a smart, and clearly politicized viewpoint. The inexorable play of events seems pitiless on the surface, but the subtly creeping horror works so well because Mamatas refuses to make demons out of the people who are caught in this storm of events. Skip "Gangs of New York" (well, for lots of reasons), and read this instead. It will get under your skin and engage your mind for days afterward.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wrenching, immersive experience Dec 20 2001
Mamatas pulls your head under water, drowning you
in the Civil War draft riots in New York. The violence
and racism echo to modern times not just in historical
awareness, but into the life of a contemporary man who
has just moved to New York. His life falls apart as you
watch the city burn a century earlier.
The scenes in 1863 are so vivid,
believable, and pathetic that they will haunt you long
after you finish the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Vivid, Fast Paced Read... March 22 2002
By A Customer
Nick Mamatas is now officially on my ones-to-watch list...
This book really took me off guard. A friend recommended it to me, and I began leisurely reading it on a Sunday afternoon...the next thing I knew it was late evening and I had finished the book! It's tightly written and keeps you turning the page...
It's a gutsy book, and has one of the most original plot lines I've read in some time...Definitely one to read...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Work By Newcomer March 5 2002
Mamatas is a stunning new talent; his prose is evocative and his turns of phrase alternate between horrifying and fall-down funny. When I finished Northern Gothic I wanted /more/. There's a verisimilitude to the scenes that make it clear that Mamatas has done his research and has a keen sense for the inside of his characters' heads.
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