Lisa Goldstein is a fantasy author like no other; and I mean that in the best way possible. To her fans (like me), Goldstein's fiction is hotly anticipated indeed; so it's a real delight to have had the chance to read an early galley of The Uncertain Places
, the first novel published under her byline since 2002 (a pair of novels written under her pseudonym Isabel Glass were published by Tor in the mid-2000s).
The Uncertain Places is the story of two pals, Will and Ben, who, as UC Berkeley undergrads in the turbulent 1960s, fall into company with a quirky family of Napa wine-growers, the Feierabends. As Will and Ben become romantically entangled with the two eldest Feierabend daughters, they quickly perceive that all is not right with the family -- on the one hand, they seem to enjoy uncommon good fortune, and on the other, there is some kind of menace and mystery surrounding their sprawling, eccentric winery, where you sometimes hear the crows talking in the woods, or happen on disciplinarian butlers beating cowed servants in the middle of the night -- where strange, small handymen all in green turn up just when needed and then melt into the woods.
What follows is clearly in the tradition of the Grimm fairytales, a story of mysteries uncovered, strange (and regrettable) bargains with fairy queens, and warring human fallibility and human nobility. As the family history of the Feierabends unravels, we are drawn through a series of fairytales set in 19th century Germany, Depression-era California, Summer of Love Berkeley, and the greed-is-good 1980s.
Goldstein fearlessly rubs the dreamlike logic of fairytales up against stark realism, and each one makes the other more real. The fairyland we visit from time to time has the perfect mix of terror and beauty, and the story rips along at such a pace that I finished it in a day and a half, at the expense of many prior commitments.
Like all of Goldstein's fantasies, this is a novel that is clearly a part of the genre, but also something quite apart from the bulk of what gets published as fantasy today. Goldstein uses fairy and its bewitchments to rip apart and reassemble the question of wonder: to ask what we pay for our sense of wonder and whether it's worth it. It's a long-awaited return to the field for Goldstein fans, and a great one.
The Uncertain Places
The house that starred as Marty McFly’s home in the Back to the Future trilogy is at 9303 Roslyndale Ave in Arleta, California. While “Back to the Future Part III” was in production, a neighbor shot the home video above of the actors on set. (via Reddit)
One of Princess Leia’s slave bikinis she actually wore in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi sold for $96,000 at auction yesterday. No news on who bought it. The costume came complete with the collar and several links in the chain Leia used to strangle Jabba the Hutt. A 16″ model of Leia’s […]
Apparently, next summer “we’ll finally find out why the birds are so angry.”
SitePoint Premium is the ultimate e-learning library for web developers, designers, and digital professionals. Famous for their web development books written by industry leaders, they’ve expanded their content library to include in-depth video courses and short, handy screencasts partnering with A Book Apart and UX Mastery. Whatever you want to achieve in your web career, […]
Skip the technical jargon and get right to taking amazing, professional-quality photos with this complete training. The Hollywood Art Institute Photography Course includes 22 modules filled with tutorials on how to profit off of your photography, or simply capture your memories in the manner they deserve.Accredited by the Photography Education Accreditation CouncilDive into this 22 […]
Power up your gadgets in the most unexpected places with the extremely compact SolarJuice battery pack. SolarJuice charges up at home like your average battery pack, but also lets you add extra juice on-the-go using its built-in solar panel—so you’ll never be left unplugged from the digital world.4.5 Stars on Amazon!Simultaneously charges 2 devices at […]