In the Valley of the Kings

Terrence Holt, Author . Norton $23.95 (223p) ISBN 978-0-393-07121-4

In this haunting collection, Holt's lush language pulls literary treasures out of dark places, bringing readers ice from the rings of Saturn “where seeing and vanishing are one,” a cartouche from deep within an ancient tomb and the late-night conversations of a married couple awaiting the end of the world. Magical realism tinges the grim “My Father's Heart,” about a man who keeps his father's heart in a jar on his mantelpiece, and “Scylla,” in which a captain returns from sea to find his home altered by an inexplicable force. An ominous future is the backdrop of “Eurydike,” in which an amnesiac wakes up in a place full of empty beds and incomprehensible clocks. “Aurora” follows the heartbreaking thoughts of a spaceship doomed to harvest ice. A tantalizing puzzle takes root in one story (its title is Greek) as a lonely survivor investigates the cause of a disease that marks its victims with a single word repeated over and over beneath the skin. This collection, with its allusions to mythology and tragic conundrums, demands intelligence and rewards the reader with Borgesian riches. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/20/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-393-07739-1
Paperback - 223 pages - 978-0-393-33908-6
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