Thomas Tryon’s The Other, has been re-released by NYRB books. Out this week. I wrote the afterward.
I first read Thomas Tryon’s novel The Other the summer I turned thirteen. I knew little about the book or its author. I didn’t know that Tryon had been a well-known actor who had stopped performing after he became a writer. I had never seen the TV series he starred in, Texas John Slaughter, or the various films, like The Cardinal, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination in 1963. I actually wasn’t even aware that The Other had been a huge best-seller—more than 3.5 million copies—and that the book had been, along with Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, one of the forerunners of the horror novel craze of the 1970’s.
I was living then in Nebraska. It was 1977, and I, fairly ignorant and innocent, had picked up a Fawcett mass market edition of the book in a bargain bin for 25 cents. I was whiling away my summer in a tiny isolated village, not that different from the one in the book, and I was interested, mostly, in reading a scary story about twins.