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The Curator

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About The Book

From New York Times bestselling author Owen King comes a Dickensian fantasy of illusion and charm where cats are revered as religious figures, thieves are noble, scholars are revolutionaries, and conjurers are the most wonderful criminals you can imagine.

It begins in an unnamed city nicknamed “the Fairest”, it is distinguished by many things from the river fair to the mountains that split the municipality in half; its theaters and many museums; the Morgue Ship; and, like all cities, but maybe especially so, by its essential unmappability.

Dora, a former domestic servant at the university has a secret desire—to find where her brother went after he died, believing that the answer lies within The Museum of Psykical Research, where he worked when Dora was a child. With the city amidst a revolutionary upheaval, where citizens like Robert Barnes, her lover and a student radical, are now in positions of authority, Dora contrives to gain the curatorship of the half-forgotten museum only to find it all but burnt to the ground, with the neighboring museums oddly untouched. Robert offers her one of these, The National Museum of the Worker. However, neither this museum, nor the street it is hidden away on, nor Dora herself, are what they at first appear to be. Set against the backdrop of a nation on the verge of collapse, Dora’s search for the truth behind the mystery she’s long concealed will unravel a monstrous conspiracy and bring her to the edge of worlds.

Praise for Owen King:

“King writes with witty verve.” —Entertainment Weekly

“[Owen King] has a captivating energy, a precision and a fondness for people that are rare…King loves people as well as words.” —The New York Times

About The Author

Photograph by Anne Raftopoulos

Owen King is the author of The Curator, Double Feature, and We’re All in This Together: A Novella and Stories. He is the coauthor of Sleeping Beauties and Intro to Alien Invasion and the coeditor of Who Can Save Us Now? Brand-New Superheroes and Their Amazing (Short) Stories. He lives in upstate New York with his family.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner (March 7, 2023)
  • Length: 480 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781982196806

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Raves and Reviews

Praise for The Curator

"The Curator feels a little like Owen King somehow brought a curiosity cabinet to life. There are terrors here, but also marvels and delights, and a set of the most interesting characters I’ve met in some time. Put The Curator on the same shelf as other classics of the uncanny and uncategorizable, like Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi and Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast. I loved it."
—Kelly Link, bestselling author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Get in Trouble

 "Half fairy tale and half historical account of a revolution that never was, Owen King’s The Curator is full of sly humor, sensuality, and strangeness."
—Holly Black, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Book of Night

“Owen King's The Curator is a rich read. Language, characters, and a fascinating world combine to create an intensely satisfying experience.”
Charlaine Harris, #1 New York Times bestselling author of An Easy Death, and the Sookie Stackhouse series

Praise for Sleeping Beauties 

“It’s a violent, dystopian thrill ride that will leave you horrified– and hooked.”
—People 

“Entertaining. . . Sleeping Beauties is a bulging, colourful epic; a super-sized happy meal, liberally salted with supporting characters and garnished with splashes of arterial ketchup. This epic feels so vital and fresh.”
The Guardian  

“King fans who enjoy his blunt language and vivid gore will find lots to like.”
Associated Press 

“The novel provides enough action, thrills and humor to keep readers burning the midnight oil... There’s comfort to be found in tales such as this... Sleeping Beauties is a well-tooled horror thriller, a worthy venture from a productive family business.”
San Francisco Chronicle 

“A fast-paced thriller [that is] ambitious and sympathetic, Sleeping Beauties is both a love letter to women everywhere and an incisive look at what drives men to violence, neatly wrapped in enough fantasy elements to soften the more caustic edges of the commentary. From Carrie to Dolores Claiborne to Lisey’s Story and beyond, Stephen King’s compassion for women is an identifying characteristic of much of his work, and Sleeping Beauties continues the trend. The Kings have created deeply textured women to populate their book.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

“Stephen King and son team up for a beauty of a horror tale [that is] epic, ambitious, heartbreaking and, when it comes to its central horrors, all too timely. Sleeping Beauties melds the elder King’s talent for exploring the darker sides of human nature when people are thrust into terrifying situations with his youngest son’s gift for juggling multiple genres and complex characters. The final chapters bring all their skills together in a fast-paced, explosive finale and emotional aftermath. A thought-provoking work that examines a litany of modern-day issues.”
—USA Today 

Sleeping Beauties is an ambitious work that combines some age-old Stephen King themes with a distinctly sci-fi premise. Sleeping Beauties is no ‘take your kid to work’ project on Stephen King’s behalf. Owen King is an accomplished author in his own right, and their collaboration reflects positively on both. No matter which King was tapping the keys, readers will enjoy a riveting novel with plenty of characters to root for, and to root against… and, in another King trademark, to root both for and against.”
Bangor Daily News     

“Another horror blockbuster, Mercedes and all, from maestro King and his heir apparent…In a kind of untold Greek tragedy meets Deliverance meets—well, bits of Mr. Mercedes and The Shawshank Redemption, perhaps—King and King, father and son, take their time putting all the pieces into play: brutish men, resourceful women who've had quite enough, alcohol, and always a subtle sociological subtext, in this case of rural poverty and dreams sure to be dashed…A blood-splattered pleasure.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)  

“Following the renewed interest in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and an increasing climate of wolf-whistle politics, this examination of gender stereotypes, systems of oppression, and pervasive misogyny within American culture feels especially timely…The large cast of characters allows for a multitude of narrative perspectives—from both the affected women and the men they’ve left behind. Violent, subversive, and compulsively readable. The true horror of this father-son-penned novel derives more from its unflinchingly realistic depiction of hatred and violence against women than from the supernatural elements.”
Library Journal 

“This delicious first collaboration between Stephen King and his son Owen is a horror-tinged realistic fantasy that imagines what could happen if most of the women of the world fall asleep, leaving men on their own. The authors’ writing is seamless and naturally flowing. Once the action begins, [Sleeping Beauties] barrels along like a freight train.”
Publishers Weekly 

Praise for Double Feature

"Owen King has spun a story with great compassion and humor. And in examining the creative process, it's also horrifyingly accurate."
—Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live

"Wonderfully, organically funny. Owen King has a gift."
—Dave Barry

"Double Feature is a many-headed comic monster. Its concerns are varied; it’s hilarious first and foremost, but it’s also a heartbreaking and poignant meditation on the vagaries of art. The sweep of the novel is epic."
—Los Angeles Review of Books

"Tartly delicious."
—Tampa Bay Times

“[An] ambitious and warmhearted first novel…King writes with witty verve.”
—Entertainment Weekly

"Fresh, new, and original."
—Christian Science Monitor

“Epic, ambitious, and dedicated to the uncontainable…[King] has a captivating energy, a precision and a fondness for people that are rare…King loves people as well as words, and he has the reach of a novelist…this is the real stuff, I think, and there’s plenty of it.”
—The New York Times

“The son of horror master Stephen, the younger King delivers a darkly humorous and often heartfelt work that's part ode to low-budget movies, part family drama and part screwball comedy with a slew of oddball characters… the only scary thing here is the new novelist's potential as a writer.”
—USA Today

"One of the year's best debuts... Double Feature is funnier than any movie to come out this year."
—Complex

"King strikes a balance between the grand narratives of popular storytelling—there are affairs and phone sex, jilted lovers and enraged cuckolds, budding romance, emotionally unstable teenagers, fights both verbal and physical, and of course a satisfying resolution in the end—and the small, sharp details of higher-brow, character-driven, artsy fare… The literary and the popular can coexist. Double Feature makes this point, and proves it too."
—The Rumpus

“[A] powerfully insightful and often devastatingly funny debut…. Double Feature constantly walks the line between tragedy and comedy, between love and loathing, between friendship and strained codependency, between art and what’s only posing as art.”
—Bookpage

“Unique in concept and execution, with much mention of Orson Welles and Dog Day Afternoon, King's novel is winning. Superbly imagined lit-fic about family, fathers and film.”
—Kirkus

“King’s first novel, about facing reality and failed aspirations, is irreverent and ambitious. Its sweeping scope covers several generations in a humorous and cynical narrative that bounces between decades. Entertaining and thought-provoking…”
—Booklist

“Sharp, hilarious, and irreverent, Double Feature is not only a love-letter to cinema, but also a moving exploration of what it means to be an artist. This novel is brilliant, and Owen King is a magician.”
Lauren Groff, author of The Monsters of Templeton and Arcadia

“Owen King's Double Feature is an ingeniously structured novel about fathers and sons, good art and bad art, success and failure, fight or flight. It manages both to redeem and condemn the overconfidence of youth, and introduces us to a wonderfully, tragically lovable cast of characters. This is terrific book.”
Tom Bissell, author of God Lives in St. Petersburg and Magic Hours

“Double Feature is a beautiful, wrenching beginning, and Owen King is a young writer of immense promise.”
Larry McMurtry

“Dear Reader: With this amazing tour de force, Owen King hasmore than lived up to the great promise of his debut collection. You will fallin love with Booth Dolan (just try not to) even as you’re giving thanks he’snot your father. This is a big, generous American novel from a dazzlingnovelist I’ll be watching for years.”
Tom Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

“What a kinetic, joyful, gonzo ride—Double Feature made me laugh so loudly on a plane that I had to describe the plot of Sam's Spruce Moose of a debut film (it stars a satyr) to my seatmate by way of explanation. Booth and Sam are an unforgettable Oedipal duo. A book that delivers walloping pleasures to its lucky readers.”
Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

“Owen King shows incredible heart, humor and structural mastery in his debut novel. Double Feature, as the title might suggest, has both glorious comic sweep and poignant intimacy.”
Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask

“I didn't believe the species existed any more: a fun, goodhearted and readable to the point of being addictive epic, contemporary novel. To delve this smoothly into the film world, art, this winningly into the complex mess between sons and fathers, this compassionately into life after a man has taken his shot and is no longer the talented, bright-eyed prodigy... it just doesn't happen. Owen King is some kind of impressive novelist, and Double Feature is a goddamn unicorn.”
Charles Bock, author of Beautiful Children

“Owen King has a generous heart and a devious mind; there’s no other possibility that would explain the ways this novel turns from the beautiful and the true right into the bizarre and hilarious. Tackling the act of creation (parents and children, artists and art), King writes with such assurance that the only option for me, once I finished this epic tale, was to start over and hope to experience it anew.”
Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang and Tunneling to the Center of the Earth

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