Voices in the Dead House

288 pages

Trade Paper

List Price US $16.99
ISBN: 9781954276017


ISBN: 9781954276024

Share on Goodreads

“This is fiction of a high caliber. . . . Voices in the Dead House is on the cutting edge of history, providing us with a way to grapple with our evolving sense of the past, as we wonder what is next.”

New York Sun

( link)
see more reviews hide reviews

“A unique look at the Civil War. . . . Through his characters’ struggles, Lock ably portrays the concerns of that day—prejudice, the strength of the Union, and America’s position in the world—which still exist in this one.”

Washington Independent Review of Books

( link)

“Gripping. . . . Distinctive. . . . A haunting novel that offers candid portraits of literary legends.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

( link)

“A stunning historical novel that brings history and literature together to share a singular perspective on the Civil War.”

Foreword Reviews

( link)

“A twin tale of two literary luminaries. . . . Lock’s deep knowledge of the time period is evident throughout, his research impeccable, his prose iridescent.”


( link)

“Immersive. . . . Lock’s uncanny gift for reproducing the literary voices of his narrators goes beyond mere pastiche. This insightful double portrait brings both Whitman and Alcott into sharp focus.”

Publishers Weekly

( link)

“Lock captures the strong personalities of Whitman and Alcott without glossing over their flaws in this fascinating snapshot of history.”

Library Journal

( link)

“Lock’s lyrical prose encompasses themes ranging from American Exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny to racism.”

Historical Novels Review

( link)

“A simply riveting read by Norman Lock—an author with a genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative storytelling style that fully engages the reader from first page to last.”

Midwest Book Review

After the Union Army’s defeat at Fredericksburg in 1862, Walt Whitman and Louisa May Alcott converge on Washington to nurse the sick, wounded, and dying. Whitman was a man of many contradictions: egocentric yet compassionate, impatient with religiosity yet moved by the spiritual in all humankind, bigoted yet soon to become known as the great poet of democracy. Alcott was an intense, intellectual, independent woman, an abolitionist and suffragist, who was compelled by financial circumstance to publish saccharine magazine stories yet would go on to write the enduring and beloved Little Women. As Lock captures the musicality of their unique voices and their encounters with luminaries ranging from Lincoln to battlefield photographer Mathew Brady to reformer Dorothea Dix, he deftly renders the war’s impact on their personal and artistic development.

Inspired by Whitman’s poem “The Wound-Dresser” and Alcott’s Hospital Sketches, the ninth stand-alone book in The American Novels series is a masterful dual portrait of two iconic authors who took different paths toward chronicling a country beset by prejudice and at war with itself.

Big Other Book Award Finalist

Foreword Reviews “Book of the Day” selection

Library Journal “Historical Fiction Titles To Share with Readers” selection

Kirkus Reviews “New Novels With a Literary Pedigree” selection

The Millions “Most Anticipated Books” selection


Excerpt from Voices in the Dead House