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Here is an extraordinary new novel from one of our most admired and acclaimed writers, a creator of "stunning, never predictable, glimmering fiction, full of mischief and insight” (Los Angeles Times).
During Nathaniel Mason’s first few months as a graduate student in upstate New York, he 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 to have appropriated parts of Nathaniel’s past that Nathaniel cannot remember having told him about. It is Jerome who seems to trigger the events that precipitate Nathaniel’s total breakdown, and Jerome who shows up 30 years later--Nathaniel having finally reconstituted his life--to suggest, with the most staggering consequences, that Nathaniel’s identity may in fact not be his own.
In The Soul Thief, Charles Baxter has given us one of his most beautifully wrought and unexpected works of fiction: at once lyrical and eerie, acutely observant in its sensual and emotional detail and audaciously metaphysical in its underpinnings. It is a brilliant novel--one that is certain to expand both his already-stellar reputation and his readership.
“Baxter's prose is singular and exquisite: gemlike in its complexity, lush in its expansiveness, profound in its contemplation of the travails of ordinary people. . . I envision him working at his books the way conscientious carpenters work with wood, the way dedicated sculptors work with marble. Physical exertion, as well as intellectual effort, must be required to produce the urgent and luxurious prose of novels such as The Feast of Love (2000) and his latest work, The Soul Thief (Pantheon), published earlier this month.” — Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune
“Sparkles with a tender energy and a tongue-in-cheekiness” —Art Winslow, Chicago Tribune
“It's exceedingly rare to come across writing as seamless and engrossing as Charles Baxter's.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Baxter brings a sure touch to his tales of love and fixation…Few American writers handle those compelling subjects with a more sure touch or more worthy insight.” —Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Though a much trickier and more cerebral book than his previous novels, this is a dandy psychological thriller in which proliferating mirrors will make your head spin. Baxter has given us the writer's version of that famous M.C. Escher print in which one hand is drawing the other.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“With a prose style lyrical, accessible and warmly humorous, Charles Baxter has been quietly building a reputation as one of America's favorite literary authors . . .His newest novel teems with the same good-natured empathy and wry humor that imbues his earlier works. . . it surely will delight.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Shrewd and mischievous” —Boston Globe
“Deliciously creepy and full of hidden meaning” —Washington Post (Media Mix)
“A subtle, engaging novel” —Kirkus
“Baxter has a great, registering eye for the real pleasures and attritions of life” —Publishers Weekly