“If you go down to the woods today…”


The man behind the mask has written a book with pages torn out of real life…

That’s right, for those still unaware, those who I have yet to badger and bother about it, I have indeed written a book, a whole book (albeit under the frankly ridiculous and ostentatious pen name of Mason Ball).


The novel has been selected to appear on publisher Unbound’s website and, should it receive enough pre-orders, it will be published. That’s right, in order to become a reality, an actual published novel, IT NEEDS  Y O U R  HELP! But I post it here not only to encourage pledges (for which there are a number of juicy and gift-laden options) but also because there are elements to the book which, it could be argued, echo the work of a certain Mr. Lynch…


The Lynchian reader can expect dark dreams, impossible people, strange things in the woods, madness and murder; a   g r e a t   d e a l  of murder.

The Dutch Wives, or The Thirty Five Timely & Untimely Deaths Of Cumberland County, is set in 1930s America, more specifically Cumberland County, Maine, and takes as its inspiration the real life medical records of a Doctor John M. Bischoffberger -which are reproduced throughout the book. The novel takes the details of real deaths that Bischoffberger recorded and weaves about them a strange, fictional and dreamlike narrative of faith, community, and how we deal with life in the shadow of mortality.

But how, you may ask, did the medical records of Dr. Bischoffberger come into my hands?


Well, some years ago, on my thirtieth birthday, Rose Thorne, my then girlfriend (now wife), decided that I should collect something and knowing me as she did, she decided that what I should collect was antique medical equipment. Yeah, I know. To this day I have a lovely cabinet of wonderful and grotesque… things, of varying archaic medical use and brutal if utilitarian aesthetic.


However, one day while searching the internet for something to add to my collection, she came across Bischoffberger’s Medical Examiner’s Record. A large hardcover book, a ledger of deaths stretching from 1934 to 1954, the record instantly drew me in. As I read, my previous disparate ideas and abortive attempts at a story from many years ago coalesced into a whole (albeit a strange one) and the novel began to take shape in my mind.


So, do check out my Unbound page, where you can read the first chapter, together with an author’s blog (which contains, among other things, a number of unpublished stories by yours truly -most accessible after pledging) and you can pledge your little hearts out; spread the word!

L E T ‘ S   M A K E   T H I S   A   R E A L I T Y . . .


~ by benjaminlouche on June 9, 2016.

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