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After the tragic and mysterious death of one of their founding members, the young musicians in a British acid-folk band hole up at Wylding Hall, an ancient country house with its own dark secrets. There they record the classic album that will make their reputation but at a terrifying cost, when Julian Blake, their lead singer, disappears within the mansion and is never seen again. Now, years later, each of the surviving musicians, their friends and lovers (including a psychic, a photographer, and the band s manager) meets with a young documentary filmmaker to tell his or her own version of what happened during that summer but whose story is the true one? And what really happened to Julian Blake? "Elizabeth Hand s Wylding Hall is not only beautifully written, but also a story about the essences of an age past that still haunt the bucolic reaches of England s countryside. The pagan elements utilized for their creepy and mythopoeic presence more than outright horror, the resulting story is Robert Johnson standing at the crossroads of British folk. Heaven can be touched, but you must pay the dark spirits of nature, not the devil.
though he’d taken all the silences in a piece of music and strung them together. It was beautiful, but chilling. Much more so than the version on the album. If things had turned out differently, if they’d been able to record more than one take of Julian’s voice—maybe then you’d have a true sense of how it was supposed to sound. It made the hairs on my neck stand up. That was when I remembered what the farmer had said. He should stay away from the wood. All of them … But it was broad
everyone else in the village. None of us was ever supposed to go off playing on our own in the woods, especially not anywhere near the rath. If you did, you’d get a hiding when your folks found out. Julian Blake was the one used to go up there. The old ways, no one remembers them today. The Wren’s a gastropub now; Barry and me quite like it. I’d heard about the commune in the old manor from my granddad. Someone told me they were musicians, a rock group. Of course, I’d never seen a rock group.
That alone was enough of a warning. Julian never lost his temper. Ever. Whoever she was, I didn’t want her anywhere near me. Ashton Well, I thought, where’s Julian been hiding this? Still waters run deep! Here’s this drop-dead gorgeous wisp of a girl comes running up to him. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Also, she was just about starkers. When Jonno wrapped his idiotic cape around her, I wanted to throttle him—doesn’t hurt to look! But I suppose it was for the best. Clearly, she and Julian
it? Les Jonno floated me his idea for us all getting together there in the summer, if Billy can arrange something with the owners. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I’d love to see everyone, I’m just not sure I want to see them all there. But I’ll wait to hear what the others think. We’ll see. Jonno I’ve always felt that if Julian was dead, I would know it. He was such a big person in so many ways, his talent and his beauty, his belief that the world held a mystery he wanted to unlock. If
City —at the time a “total dump” (just the way they liked it). Left to right: Michael, Oscar, Julie, Elizabeth, and Steve. Hand says: “The red blodge by my nose is actually my crimson fingernail and a cigarette. I was a chain smoker, also an early do-rag adapter. Oscar inspired Oliver in Waking the Moon; the book was dedicated to him.” Hand in the early 1980s. Hand read Samuel R. Delany’s Dhalgren when it first came out in 1975, and it was a huge influence on her early works, such as