Audiobook(Cassette - Unabridged)

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Overview

The Soul Thief by Charles Baxter, Jefferson Mays, Christina Moore

"Delicious.... Entirely original.... So craftily construcyed that to appreciate how liberally Baxter plants creepy hints of what's to come a reader should really savor this book twice." -- The Washington Post Book World

In this extraordinary novel of mischief and menace, we see a young man's very self vanishing before his eyes. As a graduate student in upstate New York, Nathaniel Mason is drawn into a tangle of relationships with people who seem to hover just beyond his grasp. There's Theresa, alluring but elusive, and Jamie, who is fickle if not wholly unavailable. But Jerome Coolberg is the most mysterious and compelling. Not only cryptic about himself, he seems also to have appropriated parts of Nathaniel's past that Nathaniel cannot remember having told him about. 

From the bestselling author of The Feast of Love

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781428177987
Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date: 04/18/2002
Edition description: Unabridged

About the Author

Charles Baxter is the author of the novels The Feast of Love (nominated for the National Book Award), The Soul Thief, Saul and Patsy, Shadow Play, and First Light, and the story collections Gryphon, Believers, A Relative Stranger, Through the Safety Net, and Harmony of the World.  The stories “Bravery” and “Charity,” which appear in There’s Something I Want You to Do, were included in Best American Short Stories. Baxter lives in Minneapolis and teaches at the University of Minnesota and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

Hometown:

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Date of Birth:

May 13, 1947

Place of Birth:

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Education:

B. A., Macalester College, 1969; Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 1974

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3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
NYM More than 1 year ago
It's a good thing this was an audio book. Had I actually had to read it, I don't know if I'd have been able to finish it. While Baxter may be a remarkable wordsmith, I found the story to be uninspiring. I didn't feel anything for any of the characters, felt nothing when they were confronted with conflicts and was relieved when problems were resolved only because I figured that would be a good place to turn off the CD. To give the man credit though, his descriptions are fantastic.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The Soul Thief is a dazzling, mysterious tour de force. I read it in one sitting, awed by Baxter's command of language, the realism of the characters, the grand mystery of the whole damn thing. Buy this book today -- you will be stupefied by the power of story to suck you in. Still.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Charles Baxter is mining new territory in his latest novel THE SOUL THIEF, and while his trademark keen character development ability remains in tact, he takes a step further into the realm of spiritual surrealism - and makes it work on every page! Nathaniel Mason is the character with the 'available soul', a graduate student whose life is operating on a subsistence level, partially due to circumstances beyond his control (loss from his father's death, and his sister's accident that has left her isolated and mute), and partially due to his misjudgment of relationships. He encounters the beautiful Theresa on a rainy Buffalo, NY night, is enchanted by her beauty and her presence, but also conflicted by the fact that she openly admits to being in a relationship with the bizarre Jerome Coolberg, a strange lad whose writing is as bizarre as his interaction with those around him. It is Coolberg who sets about hiring a thief (Ben) to enter Nathaniel's humble apartment to rob him of anything pertinent to Nathaniel's character -clothes, personal items, and anything that will allow Jerome to appear as Nathaniel, including his writings, his ideas, and his style. Oddly, caught in the act of the aborted robbery, Ben and Nathaniel become 'friends' - Ben hangs out at a soup kitchen where Nathaniel cooks and serves the indigent. Also working at the soup kitchen is lesbian artist Jamie with whom Nathaniel forms a somewhat symbiotic relationship and soon the players - Nathaniel, Theresa, Jamie, and Jerome - become involved in the gradual 'theft' of Nathaniel's soul. Nathaniel is not a stable personality and Jerome's very personal 'robbery' drives him into a state of psychological dissolve. The story jumps forward in time to a Nathaniel who has survived his breakdown (due largely to his sister's regaining her voice to read to him when he is in his near comatose state). Nathaniel has married, has children, and subsequently re-encounters Jerome Coolberg, his soul thief, and the changes in the two men's personalities and lives bring the story to an end. Yes, there are moments almost supernatural that test the reader's ability to stay with the story, and the concept of stealing (or selling!) a soul is not a new one: Goethe comes to mind throughout the narrative. But the strangeness of the story allows Baxter the freedom to rise above the pure narrative and wax philosophical, a technique that feels new to his work in comparison to previous novels. 'No one knows who we are here, in this country, because we're all actors, we've got the most fluid cards of identity in the world, we've got disguises on top of disguises, we're the best on earth at what we do, which is illusion. We're all pretenders.' Toward the end of the novel there is a statement that seems to echo the experience most sensitive readers will experience after reading THE SOUL THIEF: 'Is there anything more restorative than the act of one person reading a beloved book to another person, also beloved?' Reading Charles Baxter's latest novel is enriching and wholly satisfying. Grady Harp