TITLE: Clowns at Midnight
A NOVEL by Terry Dowling
PUBLICATION DATE: April 2011
"If you wish to fall into another world for a time-of shifting masks, beautiful bodies and terrible fears, of mystic philosophy and living labyrinths (with the human heart at their centre)-you have found your book . . . Mr Dowling's Clowns at Midnight is the stuff of magic."
-Danel Olson, editor of Exotic Gothic I, II, III, and 21st Century Gothic: Great Gothic Novels Since 2000
Troubled by coulrophobia, a lifelong fear of clowns, 41-year-old writer David Leeton goes to the north-eastern corner of New South Wales to mind a property for a friend. Not usually one to run away from his problems, David has just come out of a seven-year relationship with Julia, and needs time away from his old routines. House-sitting at Starbreak Fell seems the perfect solution.
David is especially glad of his decision when he meets his neighbours, the charming and surprisingly well educated Risi family, Sardinian Australians who raise pigs in the area, even more so when he is introduced to one of their guests at dinner, the intriguing and increasingly beguiling Gemma Ewins.
But David isn't at Starbreak Fell very long before strange things start to happen: glimpses of masked figures, voices calling in the night, terrifying images left on his computer, events disturbingly related to his special condition which draw him again and again to the mysterious stone tower on the forested hilltop behind the house.
Clowns at Midnight is a powerful and spellbinding tale of fear and wonder, of unexpected transformations and genuine redemption. David's discoveries in this almost overlooked corner of rural Australia lead him full-square into both the universal mystery at the forgotten core of Western civilisation and the deepest, darkest secrets of the human heart.
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