Fiction Collective Two is an author-run, not-for-profit publisher of artistically adventurous, non-traditional fiction.

Soul Resin

Soul Resin

Soul Resin
by Charles W. Cannon

2002. 304 pp.
ISBN 978-1-57366-099-0
Price: $13.95


Soul Resin is a southern gothic horror novel with a postmodern bent. Set here in the Crescent City, it plumbs the dark mysteries that lurk among the layers of the city's past. Mills Loomis Mills, an edgy college dropout at the center of the story, finds his life intertwined with a remarkable assemblage of characters—both living and dead—after his girlfriend is murdered and he begins to hear what he believes is the arcane language of spilled blood. In the space of three days—with 150 years of history whispering in his ears—Mills unleashes a supernatural disaster that Faulkner would call "a terrible bloody mischancing of human events."

Charles Cannon, first-time novelist and resident of New Orleans, has captured the flavor and complexity of a city that is unique in the American landscape. Blending first-person narratives with newspaper accounts, textbook lectures, and personal correspondence, he tells a horrific tale with compassion and wisdom. Imagine the ghost of Faulkner haunting the work of Toni Morrison, Michael Ondaatje, and Gabriel García Marquez, then add gumbo spices and the blare of Dixieland trumpets in the background. This is a story you won't soon forget.

"C.W. Cannon's Soul Resin foments cognitive revolutions. An eerie synthesis of horror story, historical novel, social comedy, anti-story and realism, it moves through a violet netherworld that is at once gorgeous and disquieting. New Orleans has always been clogged with restless dead: here, they slither among the ghosts of the living and seem to outlive them. Truly original. " —Luis Alberto Urrea

"A masterpiece of experimental fiction. Cannon takes his readers through the darkest shadows of America's cultural history, and the primary tour guide is Mills Loomis Mills, who is one of the most memorable characters I've ever come across in fiction. Cannon's use of multiple points of views is perfect—stirring, frightening and—it should not go unmentioned—frequently hilarious. This is truly fiction on the edge." —Don De Grazia

"This is an ambitious first novel, in content and in form, taking on the complexities of race and of history in a city still very much struggling with both. A typical first novel might have had Mills take on the narrative chores himself, which might well have resulted in a less complex, less eloquent, and less successful novel." —New Orleans Review



November 23. Like Farragut's gunboats and Hurricane Betsy, it came up the river. Still miles away, the approaching trident blasts woke people all over the city. They rushed out of their homes, some still in bedclothes, some dressed and armed. Irrational behavior set in. People began shooting at each other, then wildly in all directions, only finally to turn the gun on themselves. Out of some buried instinct from a former era, thousands flocked to the levee. There they saw the Mississippi rising, rising, then overflowing: as if a single bather were joined by too many guests, the river's trough had no more room for water. It began in snaking little rivulets, then lunged over in great messy splashes.

But the flooding was the least of it. Well before the river reached its boiling point, onlookers saw the ominous shapes floating round the bend at what used to be called Slaughterhouse Point. Great black clouds like great black ships, the palpable warp in the air oozed itself into the harbor and then began reaching out in all directions. Like a great neighing black horse's head it came down out of the sky as quickly as it had dug itself out of the earth.

Some dead came back for revenge. Other dead cast their lot with the living, out of principle. Many of the living volunteered for the opposition, suicide was their badge of honor. The dead fared the worst. Countless ranks of them ended up in eternity's tarpit, what we now know to call Soul Resin.