The Sub: A Study in Witchcraft (Supernatural Minnesota)

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9780816672202: The Sub: A Study in Witchcraft (Supernatural Minnesota)

The Sub, the fourth novel in Thomas M. Disch's Supernatural Minnesota series, which uses different supernatural horrors to satirize modern America, focuses on Diana Turney, a substitute teacher in the town of Leech Lake, Minnesota, left to care for her niece after her sister is imprisoned for the attempted murder of her philandering husband. Haunted by her father's ghost and disturbing repressed memories, Diana discovers she has the power to turn people into their animal totems and proceeds to transform locals into an array of creatures from spiders to pigs. Diana, her cruelty growing in proportion to her power, dismisses a warning from her father's ghost that she is destined to kill everyone she loves and continues on a spree of violence and mayhem.

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Review:

All is not remotely well in the unusual town of Leech Lake, Minnesota. Substitute teacher Diana Turney has lost her job, and is finally beginning to recall long-lost memories of being molested by her father, Wes. To make matters worse, Wes's ghost is beginning to stir in the old smokehouse--the house that Diana has moved back into so she can take care of her sister's child, Kelly. Her sister has been shipped off to the big house to serve a year behind bars after taking a shot at her philandering husband, Carl.

Diana exacts her revenge on Carl by turning him into a pig, courtesy of some supernatural powers that she has recently inherited. But Diana's "gift" is slowly bringing her over to the dark side (and slowly turning the residents of Leech Lake into barnyard animals), with a bit of help from dear old dad out in the backyard. Luckily, there are a few good characters like Jim Cottonwood who keep things from getting totally out of hand. But Cottonwood is also in the joint, sentenced for a rape he didn't commit.

It may sound pretty confusing, but you'll find yourself thoroughly caught up in Thomas M. Disch's bizarre, satirical story of life, love, and death in the supernatural Midwest. --Craig Engler

From the Inside Flap:

Following The Businessman, The M.D., and The Priest, Thomas M. Disch, heralded by Newsweek as "the most formidably gifted unfamous American writer," now continues his masterful series of horror-fantasy novels set in his own "supernatural Minnesota."

At the very moment substitute teacher Diana Turney recovers memories of sexual abuse at the hands of her father, she finds herself weilding a potent brand of witchcraft: the Circe-like ability to turn people into their totemic animals. But once she unleashes these exhilarating matamorphoses on the citizens of the small hamlet of Leech Lake, she learns that she has not been given these powers so much as she has been given to them; that others, including her enemies, have similar gifts; that she has become the conduit of her ghastly father's evil energies, long dormant but now sprung to life; and that despite her unearthly gifts, escape this time might prove impossible.

A work of fiendishly pleasurable plotting and prose, The Sub weaves a myriad number of strands—including New Age, Native American, and fundamentalist thinking—into a tapestry that is ethically devious, blackly comic, and increasingly horrifying.

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