The Uncertain Places
An ages-old family secret breaches the boundaries between reality and magic in this fresh retelling of a classic fairy tale. When Berkeley student Will Taylor is introduced to the mysterious Feierabend sisters, he quickly falls for enigmatic Livvy, a chemistry major and accomplished chef. But Livvy's family—vivacious actress Maddie, family historian Rose, and their mother
The intersection of our “real” world with the Land of Fairy seems to be a popular subject of fiction in recent years. I have become a fan of such books and found this one quite good. Set in the 1970s, it follows two young men who have become romantically involved with two sisters. The girls’ family seems to have something strange going on, and Will Taylor is determined to figure out the mystery.
That goal turns out to not be as easy as it seems—can a modern guy believe in ...more
The characters were one dimensional and uninteresting. You would think that a family torn apart by a fairy curse would be heart wrenching. And a man willing to do anything to wake his lady love would be heartwarming. I hated just about every character in this book from the mother driven ...more
One aspect of the book that I particularly enjoyed was the protagonist's changing perspective as he got older. As a youth he charges around trying to fix things and he scorns the older family members for their apparent hesitance and seeming apathy. Later, his responsibilities grow and he s ...more
"'Very poorly,' the woodsman said. 'My family and I have not eaten for three days, and if I do not find food for them soon I fear we will all die.'
"'I can help you,' the main said. 'But you must promise to give me the first thing you see when you return home today.'"
All long-time readers of fairy tales are fa ...more
In 1971, Berkeley students Will and Ben go to visit the eccentric Feierabend family who live in a rambling house in Napa Valley. Ben is dating the eldest Feierabend sister, Maddie, and ...more
The problem is that this is a story that has been told before, many, many times, and Ms. Goldstein brings nothing new to it. There is a certain irony in this, given the musings in the finale regarding the state of the world. Here we have another white, middle-class, heterosexual, cis-gendered man coming in to save the family of women, who ...more
The Uncertain Places introduced a magical world with links to our own, with the sort of magic that exists in fairy tales. I enjoyed seeing the ins and outs of how it worked.
It was fun to speculate on the nature of the secrets of the Feierabend family, as Will (and the reader) discovered more about the mysterious happenings in and around their house, and around ...more
“…he thought they only showed themselves in what he called the uncertain places. Where the sea meets the land, for example… or inside meets outside… or at dawn or twilight…” page 171
About: Set in early 1970’s California within the now famous wine growing region of Napa Valley, our narrator Will is studying for his degree at UC Berkley when he meets Livie, one of the Feirbrand girls. It’s almost “love at first sight”. However, Will notices something odd ...more
will is our narrator and protagonist. he's attending berkley in the 1970s. his roommate, ben, takes him to his girlfriend, maddie's, fam ...more
It is 1971 in San Francisco, and 19-year-old Berkeley psychology student Will Taylor goes with his best ...more
Uncertain Places definitely fits the genre. A Berkeley undergrad, Will, goes with his buddy to visit the buddy's girlfriend's house in Napa, meets her sister, and falls in love.
Only the mother is slightly vague, and the sisters possessed of a mischievous and devil-may-care air unlike anyone else. Around the sisters ...more
Narrator framing - why have the book framed around a journal entry? It didn't end up mattering to the story, so what was the point? Furthermore, it made the book a lot more awkward when the narrator then had to relate the story of what happened to a character "off screen". Essentially they meet up with the narrator and we get these little info d ...more
There is an unlikely hero, Will Taylor, Berkeley student, who falls in love with Livvy, a chemistry major who revels in preparing good food because of it. Livvy is but one of three intriguing and unusual wo ...more
I won't spoil anything, but this is a man telling the tale of his college romance, and the strange reclusive family his girlfriend belongs to. It's lovely to come across a book where two different worlds have been side-by-side for so long, and when the you ...more
Lisa Goldstein (b. November 21, 1953 in Los Angeles) is a Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Award nominated fantasy and science fiction writer. Her 1982 novel The Red Magician won the American Book Award for best paperback novel, and was praised by Philip K. Dick shortly before his death. Goldstein writes science fiction and fantasy; her two novels Daughter of Exile and The Divided ...more