The Sound of Building Coffins (Paperback)

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April 2009 Indie Next List

“One of the best New Orleans novels I've ever read, Louis Maistros' debut seems dictated in a fever dream of automatic writing. Beginning in 1891, the confrontation between nine-year-old Typhus Morningstar and an evil spirit who has taken possession of a baby will take readers into an underworld journey as a decades-old voodoo curse is unleashed.”
— Patrick Millikin, The Poisoned Pen, Scottsdale, AZ


It is 1891 in New Orleans, and young Typhus Morningstar cycles under the light of the half-moon to fulfill his calling, re-birthing aborted foetuses in the fecund waters of the Mississippi River. He cannot know that nearby, events are unfolding that will change his life forever - events that were set in motion by a Vodou curse gone wrong, forty years before he was born. In the humble home of Sicilian immigrants, a one-year-old boy has been possessed by a demon. His father dead, lynched by a mob, his distraught mother at her wits' end, this baby who yesterday could only crawl and gurgle is now walking, dancing, and talking - in a voice impossibly deep. The doctor has fled, and several men of the cloth have come and gone, including Typhus' father, warned off directly by the clear voice of his Savoir. A newspaper man, shamed by the part he played in inciting the lynch mob that cost this boy his father, appalled by what he sees, goes in search of help. Seven will be persuaded, will try to help...and all seven will be profoundly affected by what takes place in that one-room house that dark night. Not all will leave alive, and all will be irrevocably changed by this demonic struggle, and by the sound of the first notes blown of a new musical form: jazz. "Maistros succeeds by populating the novel with hoodoo queens, jazzbos, tricksters, rounders, and various folks with one foot in reality and the other in the spirit world. A sprawling, complex, and ultimately absorbing work." --John Lewis, Baltimore Magazine.

About the Author

Louis Maistros is a longtime resident of the New Orleans 8th Ward neighborhood. His work has appeared in publications such as the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Relix Magazine, the Baltimore City Paper, Entrepot, and many others. He is also an accomplished art photographer, and has been called "a wizard with light, shadows, and colors" by Louisiana Poet Laureate Julie Kane. He is mildly self-conscious about the fact that he shares a birthday with Lee Harvey Oswald, and is currently working out a conspiracy theory about that -- in the form of a novel-in-progress tentatively entitled "Holy Meaux."

Product Details
ISBN: 9780998643175
ISBN-10: 0998643173
Publisher: Crescent City Books
Publication Date: May 15th, 2018
Pages: 452
Language: English