Novel Blackwater Michael McDowell (2022)
As he states at the beginning of Blackwater, Michael McDowell has used a perfectly authentic town, namely Perdito, to set the fantastic-dramatic plot of one of his most popular novels. A town that he has nevertheless largely modified.
Rivière Perdido
La rivière Perdido by FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. Flickr.

“At dawn on Easter Sunday morning, 1919, the cloudless sky over Perdido, Alabama, was a pale translucent pink not reflected in the black waters that for the past week had entirely flooded the town.”

Michael McDowell

Most of the plot of Blackwater is set on the banks of the Perdido, a river that gives its name to the town it flows through. At the beginning of the novel, the river in question overflows. While exploring the flooded streets, Oscar Caskey, the son of the richest family in the area, rescues Eleanor, a beautiful and mysterious young woman trapped in the upper floors of a hotel.

Under the black water

Michael McDowell has taken many liberties with Perdido. In his book, the river of the same name crosses the Blackwater. In reality, the two rivers never converge. In general, the geography of the region has been subject to several modifications, although some elements are nevertheless perfectly authentic. Michael McDowell also imagined the prosperity that Perdido enjoyed as soon as the levee was built after the flood. Even the characters are a clever mix of reality and fiction.

Having been a great success in the United States, Blackwater inexplicably took almost 40 years to arrive in France, where it became the big hit of the summer of 2022.


Blackwater was published as a 6-part serial novel.


Located in Baldwin County, Alabama, the city of Perdido has only 730 inhabitants. It takes its name from its main river.

Not far from the Tensaw swamps, Perdido is located north of Mobile and Bay Minette. In the south of the state, it is often crossed by travelers on their way to the Blackwater River State Forest. Baldwin County, created 10 years before Alabama became a state in 1809, is also known for its tumultuous climate, due to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. Cyclones are particularly numerous here.

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By Gilles Rolland

Monday, September 12, 2022

Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.

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