The Uncertain Places

The Uncertain Places

by Lisa Goldstein

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Overview

2012 Mythopoeic Award Winner

In this long-awaited new novel from American Book Award winner Lisa Goldstein, an ages-old family secret breaches the boundaries between reality and magic, revealing the places between them.

When Berkeley student Will Taylor is introduced by his best friend, Ben, to the mysterious Feierabend sisters, Will quickly falls for enigmatic Livvy, a chemistry major and accomplished chef. But Livvy’s family—vivacious actress Maddie, family historian Rose, and their mother, absent-minded Sylvia—are behaving strangely. The Feierabend women believe that luck is their handmaiden, and so it is, almost as though they are living in a fairy tale.

But the price for such gifts is extremely high. Will and Ben will unravel the riddle of a supernatural bargain, hoping to save Livvy from what appears to be an inescapable fate.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616960148
Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Publication date: 06/15/2011
Pages: 237
Product dimensions: 5.56(w) x 8.54(h) x 0.64(d)

About the Author

Lisa Goldstein has published nine novels and two short-story collections, including Dark Cities Underground, The Alchemist’s Door, and Travellers in Magic. Her novel, The Red Magician, won the American Book Award, and she has been a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards. She has published dozens of short stories in such magazines as Interzone and Asimov’s Science Fiction, and in anthologies, including The Norton Book of Science Fiction and The Year’s Best Fantasy. Goldstein has published two fantasy novels under the name Isabel Glass and is a founding member of the women’s speculative fiction co-operative the Brazen Hussies.

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The Uncertain Places 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
DeborahJRoss More than 1 year ago
This is contemporary fantasy of the sort that revolves around the intersection of the ordinary world and Faerie. That in itself is pretty ho-hum. It's all too easy to create fae/fairies/elves who are humans with pointy ears and magical powers. Very pretty humans, but still humans. That said, Goldstein is no ordinary writer, so her treatment is subtle and edgy. Her fae are not nice people at all, and sane people truly do not want to have dealings with them. She tumbles us into the story as a college student, Will, falls in love with Livvy, an enigmatic chemistry major and brilliant chef. Through Will's eyes and the lens of 1970s Berkeley, we get to know Livvy's family, a family of extraordinary women, a family that is still in thrall to a bargain made centuries ago by their ancestor. In every generation, a child is put to sleep for seven years, during which time his or her spirit fights in eternal battle, in exchange for which, the family enjoys extraordinary good luck. No one has ever been able to get free of the cycle. I think that's the true menace of Faerie -- that once a bargain is struck, even if it wasn't by you, there's no outwitting or tricking or appealing to compassion. And the reward -- what you get from the bargain -- is as addictive as heroin. But Will's essential decency, not to mention his devotion to Livvy, won't let him walk away. We experience the journey through his eyes as he delves progressively deeper into the world only hinted at in the darkest fairy tales. The Brothers Grimm were hiding something . . . for good reason. It's a complex, absorbing, beautifully written tale that stands head and shoulders above the rest of its kind.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1971 while attending Berkeley, Ben Avery introduces his roommate sophomore Will Taylor to the Feierabend sisters (Maddie the actress, Livvy the chemistry major and Rose the family historian). While Ben dates Maddie, Will falls in love with Livvy. However, Will finds Livvy's affluent and seemingly fortunate family of all females odd. He especially does not understand the reactions of her two sisters and their mother Sylvia when Livvy falls into a coma like deep sleep as if they knew this was her destiny. Will soon learns his beloved is under an enchantment spell that goes back generations to when the family made deal with the Beyond as written in a censored Grimm Brothers fairy tale The Bondsmaid. Desperate to awaken his sleeping beauty, Will searches for a way to circumvent the deal with no help from her family while the fairy perpetrators keep him off kilter though he vows to keep trying whether it takes two decades or his lifetime. The key to this super fairy tale is the cast who make the legend of the Bondsmaid seem real. Will is a wonderful Prince Charming hero though his DNA would say otherwise and the three siblings are similar in the sense they all contain a special glamour but also are radically different in personality. The efforts of Will (with Ben as his sidekick) to awaken his Sleeping Beauty has so much occurring in the 1970s and 1980s that it could have been expanded into two romantic urban fantasies; as readers will relish as we root for the hero in his odyssey into The Uncertain Places of love. Harriet Klausner
gsmattingly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this because it was listed on a list of top sf&f for 2011. Obviously some people thought this was a great book. I thought it was an okay book. It was short and I still had a hard time finishing it. It really didn't grab me. I agree with this review I found on Goodreads which said, "Overall, The Uncertain Places was a decent book with a mysterious fairy tale merged with 1970s California, but it could have been a lot better if only the characters were less bland and some of the pacing was less uneven. It has not left me averse to reading another book by Lisa Goldstein at all since the actual story told was enjoyable, but it also hasn¿t left me excited about the possibility of looking up her backlist of work."
rosstrowbridge on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is contemporary fantasy of the sort that revolves around the intersection of the ordinary world and Faerie. That in itself is pretty ho-hum. It's all too easy to create fae/fairies/elves who are humans with pointy ears and magical powers. Very pretty humans, but still humans. That said, Goldstein is no ordinary writer, so her treatment is subtle and edgy. Her fae are not nice people at all, and sane people truly do not want to have dealings with them. She tumbles us into the story as a college student, Will, falls in love with Livvy, an enigmatic chemistry major and brilliant chef. Through Will's eyes and the lens of 1970s Berkeley, we get to know Livvy's family, a family of extraordinary women, a family that is still in thrall to a bargain made centuries ago by their ancestor. In every generation, a child is put to sleep for seven years, during which time his or her spirit fights in eternal battle, in exchange for which, the family enjoys extraordinary good luck. No one has ever been able to get free of the cycle. I think that's the true menace of Faerie -- that once a bargain is struck, even if it wasn't by you, there's no outwitting or tricking or appealing to compassion. And the reward -- what you get from the bargain -- is as addictive as heroin. But Will's essential decency, not to mention his devotion to Livvy, won't let him walk away. We experience the journey through his eyes as he delves progressively deeper into the world only hinted at in the darkest fairy tales. The Brothers Grimm were hiding something . . . for good reason. It's a complex, absorbing, beautifully written tale that stands head and shoulders above the rest of its kind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago