312 pp., 5 x 8 in,
- Published: December 14, 2021
- Published: December 14, 2021
A lonely young woman and a mysterious man meet in a northern California landscape populated by poets, New Agers, stoners, and dropouts.
Do you know the language of the birds?
Summer, 1979: A lonely young woman housesitting for her aunt and uncle in an isolated bohemian enclave finds troubling reminders of a past family tragedy surfacing in odd and unsettling ways. When a mysterious man moves in next door, Dovey hopes for a romance like the ones in the novels she secretly devours. But a dark truth hidden since childhood erupts shockingly in a violent otherworldly intrusion, catapulting her into a desperate struggle for her life and sanity.
Set in a haunted northern California landscape populated by poets, New Agers, stoners, and burnouts, Neighbor George is a deeply atmospheric story of psychological horror enacted in the liminal space where the natural collides with the supernatural.
[Neighbor George] plays with and subverts the calculus of desire … deconstructing it psychologically and as a genre, as Gothic Romance gives way to Gothic Horror … The novel draws its marvelous sense of atmosphere from the years Nelson lived in the West Marin town of Bolinas in the late 1970s, and her feel for the dark side of its poetry Bohemia is clearly hard earned … The story goes through some marvelous twists and turns—including one literal twist and turn that punctures the everyday veneer of the story with unsettling anomaly, and that now seems to have taken up a permanent home in my memory palace of Weird lit.
The Burning Shore
If Stephen King and Alfred Hitchcock had collaborated to write a novel that would scare you senseless, they might have come up with Victoria Nelson's Neighbor George. Lulled for the first few pages by Nelson's brilliant description of Bolinas, a laid-back, eccentric small town in West Marin, California, you may soon find yourself double locking your doors and searching frantically for a nightlight as Nelson piles on twist after unexpected twist, horror after unexpected horror in this deadly dance of predator and prey.
Mary Mackey, author of A Grand Passion
In this vivid page-turning gothic novel centered around the wry portrait of a decaying California left-coast hamlet on the fog-bound Pacific, a thirst-for-life quest turns ominously into a journey into self-abolishment and murder as Victoria Nelson exposes old lust meeting young need and New Age wacky mantras colliding with hungry ghosts seeking souls in a bohemian utopia haunted by restless spirits and death drives. Light-drenched and wit filled, brilliantly composed, Neighbor George will join canonical California novels like Maxine Hong Kingston's Tripmaster Monkey, Denis Johnson's Almost Dead, Thomas Pynchon's Vineland, and Louis B. Jones's California's Over.
Rob Sean Wilson, author of Waking in Seoul, Be Always Converting, Be Always Converted, and Beat Attitudes
A compelling and wittily written tale where omens lie low in the elegant prose before it gathers monstrous menace and then raises us towards mystery and awe.
This is not just a horror novel, not just a coming-of-age psychological thriller, but (like all of Victoria Nelson's work) it subverts and questions the trappings—the very roots—of genre. It is deeper than death or initiation alone—rather it's about what is written in our bodies from the other side, before we are born, in the womb, and how we are messengers in that way, to the outer world. And the ways we cover up the old injuries until the time comes to re-open and heal them. And within that personal—and collective, AND seemingly impossible—struggle for autonomy and truth, we find our power—in that we attempt it at all.
Sibyl Kempson, playwright