My Soul to Keep: 9a Novel

Judith Hawkes, Author Dutton Books $23.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-525-93957-3
Repressed-memory syndrome meets the paranormal in Memphis writer Hawkes's unconvincing tale, which lacks the suspense of her praised supernatural novel Julian's House. After New York fashion photographer Nan Lucas inherits her recently deceased grandmother's 200-year-old farmhouse in Tennessee's mountains, she embarks on a summer renovation project accompanied by her moody son, Stephen, an eight-year-old subject to phobias and nightmares. Stephen's imaginary playmate, Woody, whom he invented at age four, suddenly resurfaces, prompting the boy to hazardous actions. Yet Woody, who keeps manifesting in not-so-imaginary ways, may actually be the ghost of Tucker Wills, Nan's childhood playmate, who fell through the ice and drowned two decades earlier in a tragic accident, the details of which Nan has largely repressed. Drawing the reader into a vortex of haunted events, Hawkes creates intriguing characters: Sky, Nan's deceitful distant cousin, with whom she has an unwise affair; Gabe, her estranged, artist husband, who dumped her and now wants to get Stephen into psychotherapy; and Flutie Larkin, an old mountain woman who predicts the future using a ``seeing quilt.'' Hawkes has a deft hand with the eerie, jarring details that precede and accompany visitations and spirit possession, but at its midpoint the story loses steam and rattles on with the predictability of a made-for-TV movie. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1996
Release date: 01/01/1996
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-451-98400-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 416 pages - 978-0-451-18414-6
Paperback - 978-0-451-98386-2
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