Looking for a unique kind of ghost story/tale of revenge? The Next is a fun, wild read about a (dead) woman out for revenge on her ex-lover. Stephanie Gangi’s debut is also about family, illness, love and loss. It’s a good choice for an untraditional ghost story this Halloween. Read on to find out more about the book, check out the author’s top five favorite revenge stories, and enter to win a copy for yourself.
About the Book:
Is there a right way to die? If so, Joanna DeAngelis has it all wrong. She’s consumed by betrayal, spending her numbered days obsessing over Ned McGowan, her much younger ex, and watching him thrive in the spotlight with someone new, while she wastes away. She’s every woman scorned, fantasizing about revenge … except she’s out of time.
Joanna falls from her life, from the love of her daughters and devoted dog, into an otherworldly landscape, a bleak infinity she can’t escape until she rises up and returns and sets it right—makes Ned pay—so she can truly move on.
From the other side into right this minute, Jo embarks on a sexy, spiritual odyssey. As she travels beyond memory, beyond desire, she is transformed into a fierce female force of life, determined to know how to die, happily ever after.
In honor of Joanna DeAngelis’ lust for revenge, author Stephanie Gangi is here to share some favorite revenge stories. Take it away, Stephanie!
Top Five Favorite Revenge Stories
by Stephanie Gangi
These “Top”-type questions are torture for me. I agonize over the Desert Island game: What ten albums/photographs/books would you bring along? I take forever to answer, I hedge, I dither. I feel I am offending the left-behinds, and yes, I kind of do believe my books have feelings. But okay! Out of respect for my vengeful protagonist, Joanna, in The Next, I came up with this list, and cheated a little, as you’ll see.
1. A painting: Judith Beheading Holofernes by Caravaggio. Check out the look on Judith’s face – determination, diligence and the ick factor: any woman on a mission. Art historians believe Caravaggio painted this eye-popping work after witnessing the execution of Beatrice Cenci, who “murdered” her rapist stepfather. Bonus title: Secret Ceremony, the delicious movie with Elizabeth Taylor, Mia Farrow and Robert Mitchum has a character named Cenci and a moment of extreme vengeance.
2. A movie and the novel it’s based on: The Godfather. I mean, Michael Corleone against everybody to avenge the family, right? Including his own brother, Fredo – that Judas kiss by Al Pacino to John Cazales chills me to the bone every time I see it. And Mario Puzo’s novel teed it up perfectly.
3. A movie: The original 1971 Straw Dogs, directed by Sam Peckinpah, starring Dustin Hoffman and Susan George. I was fifteen years old when this movie came out, and I am sure I sneaked to see it without my mother knowing. I think my love of complicated women was activated by Susan George’s character, but also, the baby feminist inside me kind of woke up.
4. Works of Literature/Novels: Carrie by Stephen King (extra special bonus: the movie with Sissy Spacek). Charles Portis’s True Grit (a young girl who won’t be stopped; bonus: the movie version with Kim Darby and John Wayne), Steig Larsson’s trilogy; Sidney Sheldon’s If Tomorrow Comes; Olivia Goldsmith’s First Wives Club (bonus: the movie with Goldie, Diane, and Bette); Under the Skin, Michel Faber (bonus: extraterrestrials); Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell (another great movie adaptation); and the incomparable Fay Weldon’s Life and Loves of A She-Devil.
5. Movies, a mixed bag: Cheating again, I can’t help it. My daughters and I love a good badass woman protecting her world. Practical Magic (Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman with bonus: Aidan Quinn! And, it’s based on the Alice Hoffman novel), Sleeping with the Enemy (Julia Roberts), The River Wild (Meryl Streep, bonus: white water rafting! David Strathairn!); Enough (Jennifer Lopez).
6. TV: I can’t leave out my all-time favorite vengeful woman: Olivia Benson of Law & Order, SVU fame. Played to cranky perfection by Mariska Hargitay, Olivia’s ENTIRE LIFE AND A ZILLION EPISODES are dedicated to avenging her mother’s rape – of which she herself is the product – by hunting down all those who victimize women. May she reign forever (and will, as I’m in re-run limbo and may never exit.)
Thanks, Stephanie! I am fired up and ready to experience some tales of revenge now!
About the Author:
STEPHANIE GANGI lives, works and writes in New York City. She is the author of the novel The Next and is working on her second novel.
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