The Soul Thief
By Charles Baxter
Vintage Books USA, Paperback, 9781400034406, 210pp.
Publication Date: February 10, 2009
List Price: $13.95*
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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. In this extraordinary novel of mischief and menace, we see a young man's very self vanishing before his eyes.
“Gloriously done. . . . It's like watching fire slowly travel up a curtain, waiting for the moment the whole cloth will be engulfed.” —The New York Times “A narrative that pierces the air like an arrow in flight, a thing of splendid grace that kills. Before you get under the covers and commence reading, a word of caution. Lock your doors . . . a soul thief is making his rounds.” —The San Diego Union-Tribune“Examines love and lust and the various permutations and cries in between. . . . Few American writers handle those compelling subjects with a more sure touch or more worthy insight.” —Seattle Post-Intelligencer “Delicious.... Entirely original.... The Soul Thief is so craftily constructed that to appreciate how liberally Baxter plants creepy hints of what's to come a reader really should savor this book twice.” —The Washington Post Book World “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“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