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From The CriticsKnox's latest novel introduces readers to a multitextured world, brimming with intense, poetic language and so many characters that the author supplies readers with a list explaining each of their functions. Set in the year 2022, the book is structured around a series of therapy sessions involving Carme Risk and her therapist, Sean Hart. The main focus of the story is Carme's tentative relationship with her father, Walter, who has repeatedly abandoned her throughout her life. As part of her therapy, Carme is instructed to write a story about her elusive father, in which he takes on the identity of a magical figure whom Carme names Abra Cadaver. The rest of the book concerns Carme's private journals, as well as those of her father. Both diaries, which are read by Carme's therapist, become integral to the colorful story line. Knox adds complexity to her tale by incorporating the therapist's analysis, in chapters with nebulous titles such as "Transference" and "Countertransference." The book spans more than twenty years and shifts between California and Lequama, a fictional Latin American country, full of sorcery and black magic, that's undergoing a revolution. Although confusing at times, the journal entries offer an intimate, firsthand account of these characters' experiences. Knox leaves readers with the feeling that they've lived through a dense and, at times, magical history.
—Ann B. Stephenson