by Jonathan Carroll
What’s it about: Walker, an expatriate American living in Vienna, meets Maris, an artist escaping an abusive lover. As they fall in love, they discover Walker has a secret to his identity and are threatened by malevolent forces right out of the Brothers Grimm.
Why you should read this: Because of the compelling plot, likeable characters and writing worthy of any magic realist. As with every genre-crossing book by Carroll, this novel is filled with magic and suspense. You find yourself falling in love with the characters as they fall in love and in danger. A great, escapist read for mystery, fantasy and literary readers.
"It took me less than half a lifetime to realize that regret is one of the few guaranteed certainties. Sooner or later everything is touched by it, despite our naive and senseless hope that just this time we will be spared its cold hand on our heart.
The day after we met, Maris York told me I had saved her life. We were in a café, and she said this through the folds of a black sweater she was pulling over her head. I was glad she was lost in the middle of that pullover because the statement, although true, made me feel much too brave and adult and embarrassed. I didn’t know what to answer.
“It’s quite true, Walker. The next time I saw him he would have killed me.”
“Maybe he just wanted to go on scaring you.”
“No, he would have tried to kill me.”
The voice carried no emotion. Her big hands lay open and still on the pink and blue marble table. I wondered if the stone was cold under her palms. If I had been really brave I would have covered her hand with mine. I didn’t."