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Kiernan's finely crafted stand-alone fantasy guides an artistic young woman through a maze of false memories and blurred realities. A diagnosis of schizophrenia is no surprise to India Morgan Phelps, aka Imp; her "family's lunacy lines up tidy as boxcars" down the generations. Meds and psychiatry help keep her stable until she meets Eva Canning, who looks just like the woman in The Drowning Girl, an 1898 painting that has enthralled Imp since she was a child. Imp's need to learn the truth about Eva brings on dreams and memories that can't be real, and the obsession only gets worse when Eva abruptly disappears. Could Eva be the ghost of the woman who inspired the painter of The Drowning Girl, or a priestess whose worshippers died in a mass drowning in 1991? The chiding voice in Imp's head urges her to get her stories straight, but how can she when reality keeps changing? Kiernan evokes the gripping and resonant work of Shirley Jackson in a haunting story that's half a mad artist's diary and half fairy tale. Agent: Merrilee Heifetz, Writers House. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
India ("Imp") Morgan Phelps attempts to write a memoir as a way of exorcising the ghosts of her past: her mother and grandmother, both suicides; the lover who left her; and, most important, a young woman named Eva who might be a mermaid or a feral woman raised by wolves. Struggling with her perceptions of the world as filtered through the lenses of her acute schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder, Imp writes and rewrites her story, doubling back on herself, digressing to add a pair of her own short stories, and liberally quoting poets, philosophers, playwrights, and musicians. VERDICT This novel by dark fantasy's most quixotically brilliant writer (The Red Tree; Daughter of Hounds) blends urban gothic with magical realism. The result is a haunting and eerie tale of ghosts and madness. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Using lovely, reflective, and funny prose, Kiernan explore a young girl's deviation from reality as she struggles with mental illness. Indian Morgan Phelps, Imp to her friends, is schizophrenic and attempting to write a factual story of the night a drowned girl appeared to her. A self-described unreliable narrator, Imp's fragmented mind fights her memory, which produces multiple realities. Imp knows the drowned girl is Eva Canning and that she suddenly appeared on the road Imp was driving, but was Eva in the form of mermaid, siren, or wolf, and was it July or November? Attempting to write down the factual events of an ever-shifting story drags Imp into the murky waters of insanity, which threaten her life. The result is an excellent piece of fiction, both startlingly original and suspenseful.--Downs, Alison Copyright 2010 Booklist