“The dead are just as untrustworthy as the living,” narrator Adam McCormick writes in his notebook in Christopher Barzak’s first novel One for Sorrow (2007), a ghost story about two teenagers’ relationship to a boy named Jamie Marks, who is found dead in the woods in a small town outside of Youngstown.
The novel won the 2008 Crawford Award for Best First Fantasy and was made into a film called Jamie Marks is Dead (2014). Speaking with Apex Magazine, Barzak said his childhood had a tremendous impact on his writing: “I’ve always loved ghost stories since I was a child, and I grew up in what I think of as a haunted place, a forgotten little rural town, where there were probably more people in the cemeteries than there were in houses. And where there was a great sense of history, and people told stories about people who had lived in that town a hundred years before. Growing up, I felt haunted by those people, because they were still spoken of so presently.”
Barzak is the author of six books, including four novels and two short story collections, and teaches at Youngstown State University.
If you enjoyed One for Sorrow, we suggest these Ohio side trips:
- Barzak’s forthcoming Monstrous Alterations
- Tim Waggoner’s The Men Upstairs
- Alison Stine’s Trashlands