Crowsong for the Stricken is a prismatic novel consisting of twelve pieces orbiting the uncanny events in an isolated Midwestern village. Are the events the work of the divine or the demonic? Is there a more human explanation? The answer may depend on the order in which one encounters the various pieces. Among them is the award-winning title story, which was published in an illustrated edition by Flyleaf Journal. Central to the book is the crowlike figure of Plague, who haunts the villagers, especially the children. More than anything, though, it is a village of secrets–secrets people keep from each other, and secrets they keep from themselves. The novel is a prime example of the burgeoning literary style known as Midwestern Gothic.
“[T]he vignettes all feature people weighed down by foreboding; there’s always a sense that something is coming for his characters . . . [T]hey never seem to be able to truly define their own unease—even as the author makes readers feel it, too. . . . [Crowsong for the Stricken] is a work that resists easy description; recommended for those looking for something strange and beautiful.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“We were absolutely enchanted by your story and its unique premise of a small town plagued both by disease and paranoia. The style of the language and the overall tone seemed to harken back to the stalwarts of the literary fantasy and horror genres like Ray Bradbury and Shirley Jackson.” — Editors, Flyleaf Journal
“This is also a book to savor for any writer in search of influence. Mr. Morrissey turns a phrase like a Shaker craftsman turns out furniture. He sometimes foreshadows with sentences that feel like they were put down by a heavy pencil held in a fist and then he follows with something subdued or ambiguous. This is just one of the ways he moves your imagination into dark, unfamiliar spaces. What you find in any one of those spaces might reveal a little about who you are.” — Spencer Stephens, author of The Only Thing We Have (link)
A reading from the novel: