This is the third novel I have read by the late Michael McDowell. I must say this man had a real talent for writing. I cannot help but make some comparisons between Blackwater: The Complete Saga of the Caskey Family and The Elementals. I enjoyed both books very much and enjoyed Blackwater a bit more. However, my love for Blackwater did not take away any enjoyment I received from Elementals.
I kept wondering what Elementals are. Kings and Queens of a different dimension? Well, no not exactly. After reading it, it might be fun to do a little research on these things if you have the time. You might be surprised by what you find.
The story starts at the funeral of Marion Savage. Even though she was from a well established family in Alabama and had more money than God, only a few people came to her funeral. This is because the Savages had always had private funerals. During the last part of the funeral an odd ritual was performed. Now, I want you to know I have sang, played organ or piano or simply attended 100s, literally, of funerals in my life. And I must say I have never seen any thing like the ritual performed at Mrs. Savage's funeral mass.
This story was not as much character driven as it was situation driven. We do get to know the characters, but not like in Blackwater and that is one of the biggest differences between these two novels. We learn about the ritual and why it is performed. Does this ritual have any thing to do with the 3rd house on Beldame or the odd being India saw eye-to-eye in that same house. Where is the tie-in and is there a tie in. Is it just that the Savages have always had bad luck, except for their ability to make money?
I finished this book earlier today and have thought several times, “I wonder if Mr. McDowell will write a sequel?” and then I remember that Michael McDowell was lost to us in the last century at the age of 42. I wonder if he had more in mind. I suppose we shall never know.
The characters are well developed and you see strength in not only young India but in some ways all of them. I enjoyed how India came to truly love and appreciate her grandmother. I loved all the southern charm of this story. McDowell's description of the heat and humidity was so realistic that I was getting warm in 40 degree weather...so realistic. All the ice tea, it's the house wine of the south!
This book told me just what I needed to know and nothing more. Some of the six main characters you don't find all that much about, but I think that is part of the charm and horror of this story. Michael McDowell was brilliant and this is just another example of that creativity.
There were a few things thrown in this book and I'm not sure why those things were there. I am discussing the book with a couple of horror reading friends and I will ask them. But not every thing made sense to me.
I assign this book 4.5 stars
I recommend this only to lovers of scary horror. Don't forget to check under your bed before you go to sleep.