The Port-Wine Stain

224 pages

Trade Paper

List Price US $16.95
ISBN: 9781942658061


ISBN: 9781942658078

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“Lock’s novel engages not merely with [Edgar Allan Poe and Thomas Dent Mütter] but with decadent fin de siècle art and modernist literature that raised philosophical and moral questions about the metaphysical relations among art, science and human consciousness. The reader is just as spellbound by Lock’s story as [his novel’s narrator] is by Poe’s. . . . Echoes of Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and Freud’s theory of the uncanny abound in this mesmerizingly twisted, richly layered homage to a pioneer of American Gothic fiction.”

New York Times Book Review

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“Lock deftly evokes time and place in The Port-Wine Stain, avoiding the pitfalls of historical fiction as a genre. His novel is wrapped in the art, science, and culture of mid-nineteenth-century Philadelphia but truly captivates in the storytelling.”

Fine Books Magazine

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The Port-Wine Stain is quite simply beautifully worded and would appeal to the average reader or an aficionado of Poe’s particular brand of deliciously expressed horror.”

MedHum Fiction | Daily Dose: Adventures at the Intersection of Medicine and Literature

“An enthralling and believable picture of the descent into madness, told in chillingly beautiful prose that Poe might envy.”

Library Journal (starred review)

“Powerfully complex. . . . The Port-Wine Stain fits perfectly with the previous two [American Novels books]: The Boy in His Winter and American Meteor. By picking a moment in U.S. history and inhabiting it with the real-life characters that defined the age, Lock allows his readers to explore the development of national identity.”

Shelf Awareness for Readers

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“As lyrical and alluring as Poe’s own original work, The Port-Wine Stain captures the magic, mystery, and madness of the great American author while weaving an eerie and original tale in homage to him.”

Foreword Reviews

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“This chilling and layered story of obsession succeeds both as a moody period piece and as an effective and memorable homage to the works of Edgar Allan Poe.”

Kirkus Reviews

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“[A] worthy volume in Lock’s American Novels series, and readers will find him to be an ideal guide for a trip into the past.”

Publishers Weekly

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“Solid. . . . Effective.”


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Historical Novels Review

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Small Press Book Review

In his third stand-alone book of The American Novels series, Norman Lock recounts the story of a young Philadelphian, Edward Fenzil, who, in the winter of 1844, falls under the sway of two luminaries of the nineteenth-century grotesque imagination: Thomas Dent Mütter, a surgeon and collector of medical “curiosities,” and Edgar Allan Poe. As Fenzil struggles against the powerful wills that would usurp his identity, including that of his own malevolent doppelgänger, he loses his mind and his story to another.

The Port-Wine Stain is a gothic psychological thriller whose themes are possession, identity, and storytelling that the master, Edgar Allan Poe, might have been proud to call his own.

Firecracker Award Finalist

Library Journal “Top Indie Spring Fiction” selection

Vol. 1 Brooklyn “Year of Favorites” selection

Big Other Most Anticipated Small Press Book” selection

Excerpt from The Port-Wine Stain