The Soul Thief
First of all, let me say that I fell in love with the font. The little twisted question marks, barely reaching halfway up the back of a 'd' and nearly squished into the size of a semicolon. The capitol letters have the look and feel of a 1940s diner menu.
Baxter's descriptions are uncannily sparse in their ability to convince. It took more than 70 pages to really get into this story, well into the first section, but when I did, it was hard to tear my eyes off of the page t...more
In the novel's second half, decades after these events have occurred, Coolberg enters Nathaniel's life again for a final, dramatic confrontation. Ba...more
I'm still in shock.
O.K. I know I'm being harsh....more
Baxter’s novel on identity and psychological breakdown succeeds on the micro level. His description of Buffalo is beautiful (no, really, I’ve been to Buffalo maybe ten...more
As slight as it is, this book seems to not only stumble over it's own plot, but it's own vague metaphysics which, in the end, seem to be suspect anyway.
I'm not sure whether this novel is vaguely allegorical or autobiographical, if it's a critique of pseudo-intellectualism, if it's a trite spin on the current fear of "identity theft", or a tragic character study...more
What bothers me about the book is the...more
But much like everyone else that I have sworn I was destined to fall...more
Charles Baxter's ability to play with his own identity consistently impresses reviewers. Author of the 2000 National Book Award finalist Feast of Love, he has proved adept as a novelist and short story writer, as well as an inventor of forms somewhere in between. The Soul Thief is one such example. It is almost short enough to be a novella, yet it spans 30 years. Its plot hinges on a short story kind of "twist," yet its characters are intriguing enough to have novels to themselves. Critics' reac...more
the end is a sort of punchline.
i'm not sure that plot will ever really matter in a charles baxter no...more
I was captivated by this novel, for sure. It was good, but I need to talk about the ending with some smart people. I guess I was a little underwhelmed by it? The voice really carried the story and then...I don't think I can say anything else without giving too much information.
“The Soul Thief,” by Charles Baxter (Pantheon, 2008; audiobook read by Jefferson Mays.) The narrator, we think, is Nathaniel Mason, a graduate student in Buffalo. One rainy night, trying to find a party, he encounters Theresa, seductive and clever. They go to the party, he has a good time, they become lovers. Before we meet them, though, Mason tells us about Jerome Coolberg, a campus intellectual type, mysterious, patronizing, knows everyone and everything---cool, in fact. Then Nathaniel begins...more
First things first: "Coolberg the SOUL THIEF?" Did any thought at all go into coming up with that name? And into the soul thief part itself? Is that anything beyond facile and cheap irony? I can only wonder what soul-wracking experience led Baxter...more
Hm .. what to say about this book. I bought it because I wanted Feast of Love but the bookstore didn't have it. So I got this one thinking it might be as good as I'd heard FOL is. I'm hoping FOL is better. The Soul Thief was just good. It's the story of a love triangle, in which one man takes on the identity of the other, Nathaniel. In the process, Nathaniel loses himself and his grip on reality. It's an interesting story, but the characters are hardly likeable; they're all so...more
It's appropriate to start this review with a line that not only starts off Charles Baxter's The Soul Thief, a story about what it means to take on the identity of another in every possible way, but occurs again at one point towards the end. The Soul Thief a story about obsession, at its core, and how we human beings live out our lives as copycats - in that everything we learn is by copying what someone else has done - but take...more
That question made me remember that I’d been meaning to review Charles Baxter’s book “The Soul Thief”. Why had I put the review off for several months? Well, mostly because I enjoy reviewing books that I like.
Charles Baxter writes some compelling prose and I was very interested in this tiny book with the intriguing title – you might even more appropriately call this book a novella....more
THE SOUL THIEF is far more bea...more
The writing has...more
Pantheon Books, 2008
The term “soul thief” makes me think of beings who steal your “soul”, as if it were a solid entity, something that can be sucked out of someone, much like a Dementor from the Harry Potter series sucks the souls of wizards right from their mouths. Once I read the book, I realized it was very different from what I had been expecting, as Charles Baxter explores the idea of a “soul thief” in a much more dark, complex, and mentally disorientating w...more
“The Soul Thief” is a haunting tale of one man’s desperate search for an answer to the ultimate question of identity. Through Baxter’s language we are not only engaged in the story, but almost hypnotized by the symbolic imagery coupled with his eloquent diction. The reoccurring symbolic mirror best represents the protagonists struggle to find his true identity. Throughout the novel we encounter situations that let us reflect on o...more