Only available in the ebook editions of the novel and as a PDF on Issuu.com.
After experimenting with an exclusive deal through Amazon’s KDP program for the past six months, the eBook for A Masque of Infamy is now available for all popular e-readers.
The current version has been copyedited and includes an epilogue, something I was loath to do, but I bowed to pressure since so many readers disliked the abrupt ending (which may be a spoiler alert for those who haven’t read the book). Personally, I like cliffhanger endings, especially when the story is based on a real life. But what the hell… The paperback, however, remains the same, sans epilogue, but also copyedited. So if there are still mistakes now, they are most likely intentional.
* More online book and eBook vendors that carry A Masque of Infamy can be found on this Goodreads page. *
Shannon’s Book Bag reviews A Masque of Infamy:
This was a surprisingly good book. Billed as autobiographical novel, it reads extremely entertaining. Louis is a very believable hard-assed, yet naive teenage boy struggling with a crappy family situation. Dad is a pervert, Mom is a basket-case, and “family friend” Rick is a nut-case. Louis does what he feels will produce the best situation for himself (and in turn his little brother), but also feels guilt at not being able to change the situation and confusion as to how to deal with things that have happened to him in the past. Despite being a bit of a self-centered shit, you can’t help but feel for him being stuck in his crazy life.
But after buying into this kid’s life, the writer leaves you high and dry with no resolution to any of the situations – and not in a “sequel will be coming soon” sort of way. He just up and leaves…and you are left to wonder, “Seriously, that’s it?!” Frustrating, at least to me.
A common response to the novel has been that it ends abruptly and there is no tidy conclusion, no sense of what the future will hold for Louis or his brother. Because I tried to make the novel as close to the real experience as I could, within the limits of memory and the constraints of narrative, A Masque of Infamy is a story about real life, and real life is almost always messy. At one point, I contemplated writing a fictional ending that would tie it all together, but it just didn’t seem genuine. And as much as this is billed as a “novel,” I only changed names to protect my family, and because I used a lot of dialogue to tell the story, I couldn’t in good conscious call it a memoir. But it is a true story. This is how it happened.
The night I finished this book I had a dream that I was a patient in a psychiatric hospital. I can’t remember the last time a book seeped into my sleep. That says a lot about the affect this novel had on me.
Horrible things happen to Louis and his younger brother. Things that made me angry and squeamish. The way these boys view the abuse raining down on them was unsettling. There was a casual acceptance in their attitude. As I read further I realized that denial was a tactic they used to stay sane.
The ending proved problematic though:
I wasn’t happy with the ambiguous ending of this book. I wanted to know what happened to this family. I didn’t expect a happy ending exactly, but I did hope for more.
This is my current statement regarding the ending of the book.
A common response to the novel has been that it ends abruptly and there is no tidy conclusion, no sense of what the future will hold for Louis or his brother. Because I tried to make the novel as close to the real experience as I could, within the limits of memory and the constraints of narrative, A Masque of Infamy is a story about real life, and real life is almost always messy.
At one point, I contemplated writing a fictional ending that would tie it all together, but it just didn’t seem genuine. And as much as this is billed as a “novel,” I only changed names to protect my family, and because I used a lot of dialogue to tell the story, I couldn’t in good conscious call it a memoir. But it is a true story. This is how it happened.
If you’d like to read more about the experiences of Louis Baudrey, check out my zine Piltdownlad, which is where I print stories from before and after the events depicted in A Masque of Infamy.
A Masque of Infamy reviewed on the blog Crafty Mom Zen:
This book captivated me from the first page. I literally could not put this book down once I started it. And for a mom of a busy toddler, that’s saying something!
Dessaint has such a way with words that you feel as if you are a part of the story he is telling. As a transplanted “yankee” to the deep south for 10+ year, I really related to the culture shock of moving to the bible belt when your image just doesn’t quite fit the mold of those around you. There is an authenticity to the story that only drives home the fact that this story is based on the life experiences of the author. It is very real and at times my heart ached not only for the characters of the book, but for the author himself.
I did find the ending a tad abrupt. I want more! I hope that Kelly Dessaint continues writing and maybe someday shares with us the rest of the story.
Oh, that ending!
A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall reviews A Masque of Infamy:
A Masque of Infamy is an autobiographical novel, a coming of age story out of the horrors of child abuse. The dialogue is raw and rough, the characters are very real.
Kelly Dessaint has crafted his story so the reader keenly feels Louis and Joey’s confusion, frustration, fear, and anger as they experience it. I was trying to figure out what the system was doing as the boys were being processed and moved around. And the real story, the one Louis doesn’t allow himself to tell for so long, is slowly revealed through his time in the hospital. It explains his feelings and behavior, and makes his story less about teenage rebellion and more about a desperate search for some, any, semblance of stability.
I was far more disgusted and horrified at the boys’ family situation than they were, and found their somewhat casual feelings toward the adults in their lives horrifying. Whenever a novel contains a child abuse theme, you know it isn’t going to be an easy read. But seeing just how easily children can be manipulated by their abusers was so difficult.
I was surprised and even a little angry that the story ended when it did. I felt invested in these characters, and didn’t want the novel to end before I could find out whether or not they were really okay. Louis develops into a confident, capable young man, but I was still worried about Joey and wanted to know how he fared.
The trepidation I’m left with speaks to how well Dessaint connects readers with his characters’ intensely desperate situation. And despite the fact that there wasn’t a neat and tidy ending, I was left with a good deal of hope.
Oh, that ending!