John Saul: A Critical Companion

John Saul: A Critical Companion

by Paul Bail


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This is the first book-length study of best-selling writer John Saul's psychological and supernatural thrillers. Author Paul Bail compares John Saul's novels to a cocktail: (mix) one part Psycho, one part The Exorcist, a dash of Turn of the Screw, blend well, and serve thoroughly chillingly. Bail traces John Saul's literary career from his 1977 debut novel Suffer the Children—the first paperback original ever to make the New York Times best seller list—to his most recent novel, Black Lightning (1995). It features detailed analyses of eleven of his novels. The study includes never-before-published biographical information, drawing an original interview with John Saul, and a chapter on the history of tales of horror and the supernatural and how these genres have influenced Saul's fiction.

Each chapter in this study examines an individual novel. The novels are analyzed for plot structure, characterization, thematic elements, and their relationship to prior and later novels by Saul. In addition, Bail defines and applies a variety of theoretical approaches to the novels—feminist, deconstructionist, Freudian, Jungian, and sociopolitical—to widen the reader's perspective. Bail shows how John Saul enlarged his repertoire from stories of supernatural possession to science-fiction based horror. A complete bibliography of John Saul's fiction and a bibliography of reviews and criticism complete the work. Because of John Saul's great popularity among teenagers and adults, this unique study is a necessary purchase by secondary school and public libraries.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780313295751
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/10/1996
Series: Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

PAUL BAIL teaches graduate courses on the psychology of crime at Fitchburg State College in Massachusetts. He holds a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan. He has reviewed crime novels for The Drood Review of Mystery and was a contributor to the Edgar-nominated Great Women Mystery Writers: Classic to Contemporary, edited by Kathleen Gregory Klein (Greenwood, 1994).

Table of Contents

Series Foreword by Kathleen Gregory Klein


The Life of John Saul

Horror Genre

Suffer the Children (1977)

Punish the Sinners (1978)

The God Project (1982)

Brain Child (1985)

Sleepwalk (1990)

Second Child (1990)

Darkness (1991)

Shadows (1992)

The Homing (1994)

Black Lightning (1995)



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