YSABEL

Author(s): 

This new novel from
master fantasist Kay is
a tale about liminality
and how stories can change people and how people can change stories. Kay's language is poetic and thought-provoking, and his sensitively drawn characters are the perfect complement. This is a mythic tale that will linger in the reader's mind long after the book
is finished.

Ned Marriner is spending six weeks in Provence. His father is there photographing the countryside, and his mother is in the Sudan, helping victims of that country's civil war. When he decides to explore the local cathedral, he encounters Kate Wenger, an American exchange student with an encyclopedic knowledge of the area's history. Then, in a much more disturbing encounter, he meets a scar-faced man with a knife -- who gives him a cryptic warning to stay away.

Naturally, Ned and Kate don't stay away, and they soon find themselves pulled into a local myth come alive -- which not only echoes through to the present, it also deeply affects and changes Ned and his family. (Roc, Feb., 432 pp., $24.95)

Reviewed by: 
Natalie A. Luhrs