Feast Day of the Cannibals

240 pages

Trade Paper

List Price US $16.99
ISBN: 9781942658467


ISBN: 9781942658474

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Feast Day of the Cannibals is the first of [Lock’s American Novels] to explore the lives of 19th-century men who felt a sexual attraction to each other. . . . [His] recreation of a past time and place is impressive, but his signal achievement in this novel is the voice of its narrator, Shelby Ross. . . . Lock does not merely imitate 19th-century prose; he makes it his own, with verbal flourishes worthy of Melville.”

Gay & Lesbian Review

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“This spectacular work will delight and awe readers with Lock’s magisterial wordsmithing.”

Library Journal (starred review)

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“Transfixing. . . . This historically authentic novel raises potent questions about sexuality during an unsettling era in American history past and is another impressive entry in Lock’s dissection of America’s past.”

Publishers Weekly

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“Lock’s latest entry in his superb American Novels series again features his remarkable eye for historical detail and fine-tuned felicity with the language of the period. At times, the sparkling prose is nearly indistinguishable from that of the authors Lock so clearly admires, Melville, Hawthorne, and Thoreau. . . . The mellifluous language, literary allusions, and some subtle Moby-Dick parallels, such as Melville using a harpoon to kill rats in the hulls of ships, will delight fans of classic American literature.”


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“Engrossing and elegant, Feast Day of the Cannibals captures America’s kaleidoscopic spirit during a tumultuous, rapacious era.”

Foreword Reviews

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“While Moby-Dick is often referenced by the characters, it’s Billy Budd, a later work of Melville’s, that’s alluded to thematically, as Lock addresses questions of desire and repression, both personal and societal. . . . [Feast Day of the Cannibals] memorably provides a window into old New York and its narrator’s conflicted mind.”

Kirkus Reviews

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“A slow-burning tale of repression and sublimation, a work that tells a tale of obsession and the violence that ensues.”

Vol. 1 Brooklyn

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“[There are] six splendid stand-alone novels in Norman Lock’s The American Novels series. . . . Feast Day of the Cannibals is the latest book in the series. . . . As in his previous novels, Lock both presents an engrossing storyline and a vivid sense of life in late 19th-century Manhattan.”

Our Man in Boston

In the sixth stand-alone book in The American Novels series, Shelby Ross, a merchant ruined by the depression of 1873–79, is hired as a New York City Custom House appraiser under inspector Herman Melville, the embittered, forgotten author of Moby-Dick. On the docks, Ross befriends a genial young man and makes an enemy of a despicable one, who attempts to destroy them by insinuating that Ross and the young man share an unnatural affection. Ross narrates his story to his childhood friend Washington Roebling, chief engineer of the soon-to-be-completed Brooklyn Bridge. As he is harried toward a fate reminiscent of Ahab’s, he encounters Ulysses S. Grant, dying in a brownstone on the Upper East Side; Samuel Clemens, who will publish Grant’s Memoirs; and Thomas Edison, at the dawn of the electrification of the city.

Feast Day of the Cannibals charts the harrowing journey of a tormented heart during America’s transformative age.

Joyce Carol Oates Prize Longlist

Big Other Book Award Finalist

Advocate “Best LGBTQ Novels of the Year” selection

Foreword Reviews “Book of the Day” selection

Excerpt from Feast Day of the Cannibals