It’s well known—part fact, part punch line—that people in New York think a great deal about real estate. In the case of Leslie Kramer, she actually was aware of the house Alex Twisden lived in before she had ever met him, or even knew his name. Leslie would often pass by the house on days she chose to walk to Gardenia Press, where, though single and childless herself, she edited children’s books.
The house was a piece of pure old New York, built before taxes, before unions, back when the propertied classes had money for the finest stonework, the finest carpentry, and for a multitude of servants, including people to put straw in the streets so the wagon wheels of passing merchants would not clatter against the cobblestones. It was a four-story town house on East Sixty-Ninth Street, an often-photographed Federal-style dwelling made of pale salmon bricks, with windows that turned bursts of light into prismatic fans of color framed by pale green shutters. It was one of the few residences on this block that had not been broken up into apartments, and the only house in the neighborhood owned by the same family since its construction. It was one of those places that seem immune to change, ever lovely, and ever redolent of privilege and the provenance that justifies the continuation of those privileges. The front of the house bore a polished brass plaque announcing the year of the house’s construction, 1840. The window boxes were almost always in bloom, with snowdrops in the spring, and then with tulips, impatiens, geraniums, and various decorative cabbages, some of them so unusual and obscure that often passersby would stop on the sidewalk and wonder about them. The light post next to the eight-step porch was entwined with twinkling blue lights twelve months a year. Recycling was set out at the curb inside of cases that once held bottles of Château Beychevelle or Taittinger’s.
Twisdens had been born and have died in these rooms. The first President Roosevelt dined there on several occasions and once famously played the ukulele and sang Cuban folk songs for a dinner party that included the mayor, the ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, and a Russian ballerina who, it turned out, was embroiled in an affair with the host, Abraham Twisden. Twisdens who practiced law and medicine lived here, political Twisdens, bohemian Twisdens, drunken and idle Twisdens, one of whom lost the house in a card game on West Fourteenth Street, a debt that was nullified by the sudden death of the lucky winner, who turned out not to be so lucky after all.
Alex was raised in this house along with his sisters, Katherine and Cecile. Their world was this house, with its mahogany globes the size of cantaloupes on the newel posts of every stairway, with wedding-cake plaster on the ceilings, and wainscoting in the parlor and the library, and antique Persian carpets of red and purple and blue and gold on the wide plank floors, rugs knotted by little hands that had long since turned to dust.
Katherine lives now as a Buddhist nun in Thailand and has renounced the family; she has a brain tumor that has shortened her temper but seems not to be shortening her life. Cecile died at thirteen, of a staph infection following the removal of her appendix, and when their parents died in Corfu, in 1970, the house on Sixty-Ninth Street passed without contest directly to Alex.
Reprinted from the book Breed by Chase Novak. Copyright © 2012 by Chase Novak. Reprinted with permission of Mulholland Books/Little, Brown and Company, New York, N.Y. All rights reserved.
Fabulously wealthy New Yorkers Alex and Leslie Twisden want for nothing…except a child, and the failure of one fertility treatment after another turns longing into obsession. After traveling every available road to conception, the Twisdens visit Slovenia to undergo a painful and terrifying procedure. Ten years later their adored twins are the center of their world. But Adam and Alice, who have never questioned why they are locked in their rooms come nightfall, have grown increasingly unnerved by disturbing sounds that mark each day’s darkest hours. What horror is taking place in the master suite of their house of secrets? Chase Novak’s Breed is a story of gothic horror you’ll want to read with doors locked and lights blazing.
Hardcover Book : 320 pages
Publisher: Hachette Book Group, USA ( September 04, 2012 )
Item #: 13-642584
Product Dimensions: 5.125 x 8.25 x 0.72inches
Product Weight: 12.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
I liked it at first, but Novak lost me. I would not recommend this book to many people. Very strange, pretty creepy.
This was a book that I would only read once. I couldn't really make up my mind if I really liked it or not.
I would not recommend to anyone to get in a hurry to read this book. Maybe if you were low on really good reading material than you might want to pick it up.
Reviewer: Eileen H
This book was curiously flat. Page after page of blood and gore, growing insanity, attempts at pathos; but no substance to give meaning to it all. Just couldn't care about the characters or their life lines.
Reviewer: Lori R