The Soul Thief (Vintage Contemporaries)
"Delicious.... Entirely original.... So craftily construcyed that to appreciate how liberally Baxter plants creepy hints of what's to come a reader should really savor this book twice." -- The Washington Post Book World
In this extraordinary novel of mischief and menace, we see a young man's very self vanishing before his eyes. As a graduate student in upstate New York, Nathaniel Mason is drawn into a tangle of relationships with people who seem to hover just beyond his grasp. There's Theresa, alluring but elusive, and Jamie, who is fickle if not wholly unavailable. But Jerome Coolberg is the most mysterious and compelling. Not only cryptic about himself, he seems also to have appropriated parts of Nathaniel's past that Nathaniel cannot remember having told him about.
From the bestselling author of The Feast of Love.
Baxter's novel is an unusual comic work about a grad student whose life gets progressively stranger and stranger as he finds himself attracted to two women and discovers a fellow student is swiping bits and pieces of his life. Jefferson Mays reads with little hoopla or self-regard. He makes the book into a bedtime story, tucking us each into bed with his middle-register of a voice-no noticeable highs or lows. Baxter's book is funny in a deeply low-key fashion; without careful attention, much of the humor can zip by unnoticed. In that regard, Mays treats Baxter properly, trusting the author enough to maintain his tone throughout. Simultaneous release with the Pantheon hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 5). Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition. Opening in gritty, nineteen-seventies Buffalo, Baxters suspenseful fifth novel concerns a mildmannered graduate student, Nathaniel, who falls under the spell of a cerebral but affected outsider, the aptly named Coolberg. Drawn to Coolbergs sneering persona (and to that of his girlfriend, Theresa, who relishes Coolbergs performances), Nathaniel begins to unravel when he learns that Coolberg is appropriating his identity: a burglar steals clothes from Nathaniel that Coolberg ends up wearing, and Coolberg begins claiming Nathaniels history for his own. Baxters talent for creating uncanny settings and telling details and his inventive way with language (a similarly dressed couple are "umbilicaled") are both on display here, but the conceptual twist at the novels end feels unequal to the dramatic tension that precedes it. Copyright © 2008 Click here to subscribe to The New Yorker --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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