The devil comes to Sag Harbor, a place where ghosts abound too, in:
The book, published under the imprint of Canio's Editions, is Val Schaffner's third—following Algonquin Cat and Lost in Cyberspace: Essays and Far-Fetched Tales. On eastern Long Island he is also known as the author of Periscope, a column that ran for 12 years in The East Hampton Star, and as a former editor at that paper.
Spooky in topic but erudite and humorous in style, the stories in The Astronomer's House are set in and around Sag Harbor, N.Y., and purport to reveal certain of the secrets that abound in the enigmatic mansions, churches, and graveyards of the ancient Long Island town. Among them:
How the sexiest man alive became the man nobody knew.
Where to read next week's news.
How the organist lost his soul.
What is written in the black-bound tome that shares a coffin with the man it enriched and doomed.
When seventeen words can drive you mad.
How a night of love can last a lifetime.
Who is entombed beneath the Old Whaler's Church, and what is in the white box he carries to a phantom ship at Christmastime.
Why the ghost in the astronomer's house is happy at last.
Many years ago, the author nearly bought the strange, derelict tower house by a Sag Harbor cemetery that loosely inspires the title story in the present collection. Thinking better of it, he built a home of his own design, turreted but unhaunted, in the Bridgehampton woods not far away—a locale that, nonetheless, is visited by evil in another story.
The Astronomer's House is the 23rd title in the catalog of Canio's Editions, a small press based in Sagaponack, N.Y., that publishes poetry and fiction by East End authors. It is headed by Canio Pavone, also the founder of Canio's, a landmark bookshop in Sag Harbor. The Astronomer's House, which includes a cover illustration by Nabi Gallery artist Nohra Barros, is distributed by Nabi Ltd. and is available at local bookstores and Amazon.com, or by direct order from Nabi.
The book is just printed, and links to reviews will be posted as they appear. The Sag Harbor Express has already called it "difficult to put down" and "haunting." For the full text of that review, click on the following:
The list price is $22 but copies can be ordered from Nabi at a discounted price of $15, including shipping and sales tax, by clicking on the link below.