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Castles Burning -ebook

Family dysfunction is sometimes a justified psychosis.

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    Wil Warner is a tormented son tossed about by the waves of both parents. His father is a beautiful but simple father and husband, and his mother is a narcissistic woman obsessed with the art of acquisition and the relentless climb to the top of society. After his father’s death, an adult Wil is left to face the ultimate horror of his mother’s mental illness.


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    This is a Literary Work of Magical REalism

    Castles Burning is a forty-four-page literary work of magical realism. Written in first person, this tale, if true, would be considered a memoir of Wil Warner, the son of Tom and Kat Warner. While there are some slightly horrific items in this story, it is mostly a story centered on family dysfunction. I would not classify it within the genre of horror myself. Mostly this is tale of an adult son coming to terms with the past and making the final cut of any ties still binding him to his mother. The final thing Kat Warner had to entice a reunion with her son was his father’s remains and the story begins as she lures Wil back to her prominent estate in hopes that he can collect his father’s ashes.

    Though I had expected to be reading a work of horror, I knew almost immediately that I was reading a literary piece. There is difference in style, rhythm, and word choice than one would find in most mainstream novels where the literary leans more toward the poetic, and where word choice and sentence structures are as important, sometimes even more important, than the plot or point of telling the story. If I can liken the mainstream novel writer to classic rock, the literary writer would probably liken themselves to opera. These are, generally speaking, different camps of consumers. I would not have purchased this book had I known it was a literary work of fiction. I am story driven and, while the words flowed beautifully, there is not enough of a story here for my tastes. This book is for fans of the more literary works of fiction who will find Keith McCoy to be a very talented writer indeed.


    Castles Burning

    In Castles Burning (Champagne, 2014) by Keith Wayne McCoy, a son is confronted with horrors he thought he’d escaped when he left home years before. Wil Warner returns home when he receives an imperious summons from his mother.

    As a child, he had been manipulated by and pulled between both his parents. His mother, a narcissistic woman obsessed with possessions and maintaining the family’s prominent position at the top of local society, believes that everything and everyone has a price. To prove her point, she bought her husband, Wil’s father. Wil learned early from his father, a handsome man who had worked for the family, that the price of being bought was obedience to the whims of the one who pays the bills, his wife and Wil’s mother.

    When his mother tried to exert the same control over Wil after he returned from college for a visit with his girlfriend, he rejected her attempts to control him and walked out of her life—until the summons arrived. Wil arrives home to realize that he must deal with his mother who has fallen into the depths of mental illness.

    McCoy’s Castles Burning is a great read that examines how mental illness affects individuals and families, especially when the mental illness leads to horrific acts that defy belief. Castles Burning also addresses Wil Warner’s personal growth as he must deal with the mother who dominated him in his youth with her selfishness and meanness, which devolved into insanity.

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    Castles Burning -ebook

    Castles Burning -ebook

    Family dysfunction is sometimes a justified psychosis.



    My dead father sits at night with no lights on. The outdoor floodlights sparkle in his eyes. The house is still, save for the grandfather clock ticking in the vestibule. I enter the parlor quietly, careful not to wake my mother upstairs. I tiptoe in front of him and settle cross-legged at his feet.

    I cannot touch him yet. Crazed, despairing pirouettes fill my soul just looking at him, let alone touching him. Would I run screaming through the hallways of Lockwood, falling and crawling about in lunatic distress? Or, perhaps, pass out once again when upon reaching out and taking his hand, if I do not feel the warmth I long for? Is his soul still there, inside, patiently waiting for the morning of eternity? Or is it disturbed it has been denied the peace in death all souls deserve?

    “I’m so sorry, Daddy,” I say, breaking the silence. He is imperious as he listens. “But she is ill. And worst of all, doesn’t even realize it. In her mind, she is justified in what she did to you. We should have seen the signs years ago.” I bring a hand to my face in fresh horror of what sits before me. “Tell me how to make it right,” I plead. “Let me know what to do and I’ll do it for you. I don’t want anybody to see what she’s done.”

    I begin to cry. From far memory, I hear my father’s gentle voice. Now, now. None of that. I try to remember the place and time. I cry harder.

    Now, now. None of that.

    Through the corridor of time, I am transported back to a boat rowing to the shore where my mother waited. His great, thick arms pulled us closer to her. All of the dread and resentment of childhood was full upon me as I watched her emerge, clearer and clearer. I urged ignorance of her presence, just that once. I longed for the opposite way, another shore.

    With the recollection, an idea stirs within me. A small thought at first that explodes into soaring fireworks of certainty. I am uplifted as a plan arouses me from the slumber of depression into a manic awakening. The masterful plot excites me. I feel ennobled with the knowledge we will not be forsaken to satisfy her will this time.

    My resolve is undeniable. I smile in the darkness.

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