The Soul Thief the Soul Thief 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
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
I'm still in shock.
O.K. I know I'm being harsh. ...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
There are just a lot of really strange authorial choices in The Soul Thief that I haven't yet made sense of, and am not sure that I agree with. For instance, m ...more
I was extremely annoyed by all of the characters during the entire first portion of the book. They were completely self-centered and overly-intellectual - although as that part closed, I found myself thinking that was entirely appropriate since they were graduate students. But then it started to seem to me that the book itself was irritatin ...more
But much like everyone else that I have sworn I was destined to fall ...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
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
The description of the book on the flyleaf looked very interesting - a psychological horror story. Nathanial Mason is a grad student in Buffalo, New York around 1970. He meets up with an odd guy named Jerome Coolberg. It seems like Coolberg is trying to steal Mason's identity. Thirty years later, they meet again and it gets really WEIRD. Other stuff happens, too. Mason's house gets burglarized (or does it really?), he date ...more
Don't read this if you like happy endings. In fact, just don't read this, you won' ...more
The novel traces the li ...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 S ...more
“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