The Soul Thief
By Charles Baxter
(Pantheon, Hardcover, 9780375422522, 224pp.)
Publication Date: February 12, 2008
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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.
CHARLES BAXTER is the author of eight previous works of fiction, including Saul and Patsy, The Feast of Love (nominated for the National Book Award), Through the Safety Net, and Believers. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“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”
“Deliciously creepy and full of hidden meaning”
–Washington Post (Media Mix)
“A subtle, engaging novel”
“Baxter has a great, registering eye for the real pleasures and attritions of life”
“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
"Very few writers excel at both novels and short stories, but Charles Baxter is one of the gifted few who have. From the start of his career, his accomplishments in each have been clear and stunning... His work is subtly political and emotionally precise, whether registering the moods and faces of strangers or the complex of fond and hateful ways ordinary Americans converse."
--Award of Merit, American Academy of Arts and Letters