Only One Thing Missing

Overview

The novel centers on Alicia, a young woman who has recently lost her husband and only child in a tragic accident. Mourning her family, Alicia is fortunate to be surrounded by friends and neighbors whose hands are always outstretched to offer solace and consort. But soon she becomes plagued by a succession of nightmares set in a surreal, unidentifiable city. When the statues and shadowy figures from the dreamcity begin to appear in her waking life, she finds herself teetering between sanity and paranoia. Together ...
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2002-12-10 Hardcover First American Edition New. Very good DJ First American Edition. Very good DJ. Grove. 2003. First printing. Clean covers with clean and firm pages, with no ... marks, volume is square, tight spine, sharp corners: Dj near fine. Read more Show Less

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Overview

The novel centers on Alicia, a young woman who has recently lost her husband and only child in a tragic accident. Mourning her family, Alicia is fortunate to be surrounded by friends and neighbors whose hands are always outstretched to offer solace and consort. But soon she becomes plagued by a succession of nightmares set in a surreal, unidentifiable city. When the statues and shadowy figures from the dreamcity begin to appear in her waking life, she finds herself teetering between sanity and paranoia. Together with her brother-in-law, Esteban - who happens to be madly in love with her - Alicia gradually comes to understand that she may be the subject of an evil conspiracy that has dark, ancient roots. As the two of them fall deeper into this phantasmagoric world, they come to see that the people all around them may not be as well-meaning as they appear, and that trust - once such an abundant commodity - may have become an unaffordable luxury.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"This is the first intellectual plot I've ever had: antiques, statues, Satanism. An embarrassment of riches," says Inspector Galvez, the Seville detective who investigates a series of strange crimes that occur when a newly widowed young woman named Alicia begins to fall apart mentally and emotionally. His list describes just a few of the tongue-in-cheek devices that Ruiz offers in this wily psychological thriller. The story begins after Alicia's husband and only child die in a car accident. At first Alicia seems to be on track for a solid emotional recovery, despite her brother-in-law, Esteban, not working very hard to disguise his passionate love for her. But her progress is short-circuited when she begins having visions of an idealized, imaginary city, with many of the images inspired by an antique statue purchased by Esteban. Then the owner of the antique shop is murdered, and Alicia's apartment is ransacked. Soon Alicia is having paranoid delusions in which a mysterious woman appears and disappears. She and Esteban begin to research the possibility that she is being affected by a satanic plot that dates back to medieval Lisbon. Ruiz does a fabulous job rendering Alicia's psychological erosion, focusing on her small, seemingly ordinary mental failures in order to generate suspense while downplaying the over-the-top elements of the satanic subplot. He balances the inevitably lurid satanic showdown with a cheeky sense of humor, making sly references to the likes of Polanski and Hitchcock. This is Ruiz's English-language debut, which should leave American audiences clamoring for more. (Jan.) Forecast: Booksellers might boost sales by pitching this novel to fans of Arturo P rez Reverte's erudite thrillers, as well as to connoisseurs of quirky horror/suspense novels. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
A distraught young woman living in Seville, Spain, Alicia has just lost her husband and only child in a horrible accident. She suffers from terrifying nightmares of wandering through a nameless city whose monuments and inhabitants begin appearing to her during waking moments. Carmen Barroso, the most sought-after psychotherapist in Seville, with credentials from Milan and Boston, treats her with hypnosis and medication but is strangely dismissive of her harrowing dreams. Can dreams, Alicia wonders desperately, be shared by various people intervening in the same scenario? Aided by her brother-in-law, Esteban, who loves her deeply, Alicia comes to realize that she is the victim of a sinister conspiracy with roots in devil worship. With a style as rich in detail as the four statues of the baroque angels that keep turning up to haunt Alicia, this psychological thriller and debut novel in English for young author Ruiz delves into the most arcane reaches of the occult. Recommended for most collections.-Jack Shreve, Allegany Coll. of Maryland, Cumberland Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Spaniard Ruiz's English-language debut, winner of this year's International Prize, reveals the nightmare world of a young Spanish widow whose dreams spring to life and drive her to the verge of insanity. Seville librarian Alicia was a happy, hopeful young wife and mother not so long ago, but her husband Pablo and her little girl Rosita were killed in a car crash and Alicia is now on her own. Still in a state of shock months after the accident, Alicia sleepwalks through her days, maintaining the appearance of normal life at work and with her friends, but she finds that the nighttime world of her dreams has taken on more importance to her than most of what transpires while she's awake. Each night, with increasing clarity, Alicia dreams of a strange and ancient city where she's surrounded by angels and accosted by a menacing bald man with a moustache. Alicia describes these nightmares to her mother-in-law Luisa, a psychiatrist who tries to help Alicia manage her grief. Luisa prescribes various medications-at progressively high doses-but the dreams continue. In fact, they come to life. One day Alicia discovers a 17th-century engraving that's a perfect illustration of the city of her dreams. She takes it to her brother-in-law Esteban, a Latin teacher, who translates the inscription (which describes the city as New Babel, earthly home of the devil) and agrees to help her find the book that it came from. A Name of the Rose-like hunt commences as Esteban and Alicia comb through libraries, museums, churches, and antiques shops on the trail of what looks more and more like a Satanic conspiracy. Is Alicia simply distraught? Or are her dreams actually revealing a diabolical cult to her (either as awarning or a trap)? After all, anyone can become paranoid if she's hunted long enough. Chilling, eerie, and sophisticated: a marvelously constructed tale that keeps you guessing until the very end (which does not disappoint).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802117304
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/5/2003
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 8.42 (w) x 10.92 (h) x 1.09 (d)

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