The menace is something unique in this week’s weird story being discussed over at LibraryThing.
Review: “Where the Summer Ends”, Karl Edward Wagner, 1980.
The setting is Wagner’s hometown, Knoxville, Tennessee. Wagner gives us the South in its hot, humid summer days. In particular, he vividly and verdantly recreates the portion of town around the local univerisity with its rundown buildings, student apartment made out of converted Victorian and Edwardian, and, particularly the many vacant, kudzu-covered vacant lots around Grand Avenue which have not even been rebuilt after the buildings have disappeared from them.
Protagonist Mercer, part-time art student and part-time construction worker, wants a mahogeny mantle from junk and antiques dealer Gradie. Gradie lives on Grand Avenue, an old time resident after all the other buildings were abandoned.
In fact, Gradie made money on the decline of the neighborhood. He would make a deal with the city for salvage rights for anything in the abandoned buildings and his partner Morny would do the actual demolition. Often, a fire would mysteriously burn down the structure before its demolition was complete. The city seemed to tacitly go along with this arson by Gradie and Morny.Continue reading