cover image A Spectral Hue

A Spectral Hue

Craig Laurance Gidney. Word Horde, $16.99 trade paper (224) ISBN 978-1-939905-50-5

This dreamy dark fantasy focuses on unraveling artistic ecstasy and obsession. After being introduced to a Hazel Whitby quilt as a child, Xavier Wentworth develops a fascination with the spectacle of the quilts that sparks a lifelong obsession. This obsession takes him to Shimmer, Md., an isolated town that seems to exist outside of time, to work on his master’s thesis on the generations of black artists hailing from Shimmer. He soon suspects that many of these artists, especially queer ones, have been inspired by the spirit of a nearby marsh. Xavier’s story winds back on itself and trickles revelations piece by piece until the abrupt, upsetting, entirely appropriate ending. Told through chapters that include the perspectives of several of Shimmer’s residents, this lushly written fantasy raises many questions about the nature of art and its toll on artists and answers few of them. Readers prepared to be disturbed and unsettled will find this novel gripping and immersive. (June)