Tag Archives: story

JK Rowling tells a new Potter story on her website

Eight years after writing the last of her “Harry Potter” novels, J.K. Rowling is still adding to the boy wizard’s story.

The author posted new information recently about the Potter family, the background provided on a “newly imagined” and mobile friendly version of the Pottermore Web portal (www.pottermore.com ) that Rowling established in 2012.

In a brief essay titled, “The Potter Family,” Rowling traces Harry’s roots to “the twelfth-century wizard Linfred of Stinchcombe, a locally well-beloved and eccentric man, whose nickname, ‘the Potterer’, became corrupted in time to ‘Potter.”” She also offers the backstory on the “Invisibility Cloak,” a legacy made possible by a “beautiful young witch” named Iolanthe Peverell.

A killer who finds prey through lonely hearts ads. Book review

“Quiet Dell” (Scribner), by Jayne Anne Phillips

In the 1930s, a man who called himself Cornelius O. Pierson began to correspond with a 45-year-old widow struggling to raise three young children in suburban Chicago. She had written to a matrimonial bureau – the Depression-era version of online dating – seeking someone with whom she might find “true friendship, fidelity and matrimony.”

Pierson, whose real name was Harry Powers, had represented himself as a wealthy, college-educated civil engineer and widower, although he was married at the time. A little more than six months after the couple found each other through the lonely hearts ads, Asta Eicher and her children were dead, brutally murdered by a con man who preyed on widows, then drained their bank accounts.

As a young girl growing up in West Virginia, Jayne Anne Phillips had heard about the sensational murder case from her mother. In her new novel, “Quiet Dell” – the name of the rural town where the slayings happened – she reconstructs the gruesome killings that had haunted her for decades.

It is an extraordinary achievement, a mesmerizing blend of fact and fiction that borrows from the historical record, including trial transcripts and newspaper accounts, but is cloaked in the shimmering language of a poet.

An award-winning writer perhaps best known for her story collection “Black Tickets,” Phillips does not alter the basic facts of the crime. But the inner lives of the characters and their relationships have been wholly imagined. In addition, she creates four fictional characters, including a sexually adventurous newspaper reporter and her gay newspaper colleague, who exchange Hepburn and Tracy-worthy banter. There is also a winsome street urchin who could have stepped out of a Dickens novel.

Of all the finely drawn characters – including one of fiction’s best dogs, a feisty little bull terrier named Duty – Phillips was clearly most affected by the plight of Powers’ youngest victim, 9-year-old Annabel Eicher, to whom she dedicates the book.

As the novel opens, Annabel has written a pageant for her siblings to perform at what would be their last Christmas together. Her mother worries out loud to a friend that the precocious Annabel may be too imaginative for her own good. As the narrative rolls toward its terrifying conclusion, Annabel will manage, in a figurative way, to soar above the dark story, just as Phillips does in her sepia-tinted tribute to her West Virginia roots.

On the Web…


UPDATE. Man recants claim he was kidnapped by church

A man who accused a North Carolina church of holding him against his will and abusing him because he’s gay has recanted. He says he lied about the church violence and about being gay.

Twenty-two-year-old Michael Lowry told The Associated Press he was sorry for making accusations against the Word of Faith Fellowship.  

In a prior interview with AP, Lowry had said he fled after the church confined him to a locked building on church grounds because he was gay. He also had claimed that from August 2011 to November 2011 he was taken to the building and beaten and abused, part of his “ex-gay” treatment.

Rutherfordton County Sheriff’s Detective Sergeant Jamie Keever said he has met with Lowry and the investigation is continuing. Lowry could face charges associated with filing a false report.

The district attorney presented the case to a grand jury, but it’s unclear what will happen next. 

Lowry filed his complaint against the church last year, with support from a group called Faith in America, which said Lowry was the victim of a hate crime.

Lowry’s was not the first complaint against the church that was founded in 1979 by Sam and Jane Whaley. The church has been accused for years of enforcing extensive control over congregants.