Friday, March 15, 2013
The title character in H.G. Wells’ 1896 science fiction novel, “The Island of Doctor Moreau,” got himself exiled from England after performing gruesome experiments with animals.
Now he’s back, playing a supporting role in “The Madman’s Daughter” (Balzer+Bray; $17.99), the first of a trilogy from Asheville’s Megan Shepherd (pictured at left).
As this gothic horror novel opens, Dr. Moreau’s estranged daughter, Juliet, is describing her job at King’s College in London. She cleans the operating theater where medical students dissect cadavers. “Dead flesh and sharpened scalpels didn’t bother me,” she explains. “I was my father’s daughter, after all.”
How did Shepherd decide to revisit Dr. Moreau? She’s a huge fan of the television series “Lost,” she told me, and “Lost,” set on an island, made her remember “The Island of Doctor Moreau,” which she’d read as a teenager.
Shepherd, 30, read a lot as a teenager. Her parents, Peggy and Tim Hansen, have owned Brevard’s Highland Books for 37 years. As an infant, she slept behind the counter. When she got older, she worked there. “It was my personal library,” she says.
In Peggy Payne’s “Cobalt Blue,” Andie Branson, a 38-year-old commercial artist in Pinehurst, has an unexpected physical religious experience known as “kundalini rising.” Payne, who lives near Raleigh, is author of “Sister India.” Her new novel (Roundfire Books; $20.95) tracks Andie’s spiritual awakening.
‘Remembering Medgar Evers’
On a June day in 1963, Medgar Evers, the NAACP’s field secretary, was shot in the back as he unloaded a stack of “Jim Crow Must Go” T-shirts in his own driveway in Jackson, Miss.
In “Remembering Medgar Evers: Writing the Long Civil Rights Movement” (University of Georgia Press; $22.95), UNC Chapel Hill English Professor Minrose Gwin writes of Evers’ times and the deeper meaning of his life and murder. Her work examines fiction, poetry, memoir, drama and songs that emerged following Evers’ death. They include works by James Baldwin, Eudora Welty, Bob Dylan and Willie Morris.
Nora Gaskin’s novel, “Until Proven: A Mystery in Two Parts” (Lystra Books; $11.95), is the story of the murders of two young women who are killed in their homes 40 years apart. The book is based on an unsolved Chapel Hill murder. Gaskin, who lives in Chatham County, will read and sign copies at 2 p.m. April 6 at Charlotte’s Park Road Books, 4139 Park Road.