The Uncertain Places
by Lisa Goldstein
2012 Mythopoeic Award Winner
Trade Paperback / 978-1-61696-014-8 / June 2011 / $14.95
In this long-awaited new novel from American Book Award winner Lisa Goldstein, an ages-old family secret breaches the boundaries between reality and magic, revealing the places between them.
"An exquisitely beautiful, eerily compelling modern fairy tale."
When Berkeley student Will Taylor is introduced by his best friend Ben to the mysterious Feierabend sisters, Will quickly falls for enigmatic Livvy, a chemistry major and accomplished chef. But Livvy’s family - vivacious actress Maddie, family historian Rose, and their mother, absent-minded Sylvia - are behaving strangely. The Feierabend women believe that luck is their handmaiden, and so it is, almost as though they are living in a fairy tale.
But the price for such gifts is extremely high. Will and Ben will unravel the riddle of a supernatural bargain, hoping to save Livvy from what appears to be an inescapable fate.
-Library Journal *starred review*
"Exemplary.... Goldstein is one of fantasy's most reliable practitioners, and a new novel from her is always a cause for celebration."
-San Francisco Chronicle
"The Uncertain Places continued to surprise me at every page-and, as a writer, filled me with raw, disgraceful envy: Boy I wish I'd thought of this one..."
-Peter S. Beagle
"Lisa Goldstein is back and at the top of her game."
"The arrival of a new Goldstein fantasy is a major cause for rejoicing. And The Uncertain Places does not disappoint."
"Has it really been nine years since The Alchemist's Door, Lisa Goldstein's last book under her own byline? It’s been a long wait, but The Uncertain Places is one of those delightful books that are worth the wait. It combines all the things that I like best about Goldstein's work: great, believable characters; a well-defined setting (this time it's 1970's Berkeley); and subtle magic that plays by the rules."
—Charles de Lint, Fantasy & Science Fiction
"Goldstein's complex and ingenious plot transplants the forest realm of European folktale, where witches grant wishes with strings attached and you’d better be careful which frog you kiss, into the sun-drenched hills of Northern California in the 1970's— and beyond."
-Ursula K. Le Guin
"This entrancing book perfectly captures the subconscious logic of fairy tales-you'll find yourself believing it all, and wishing you could go to these places yourself, with all their wonders and perils."
"It's fitting that a spider is the symbol of the elf-struck family in this book, because Lisa Goldstein's prose is more than a little like a spider's web: so deceptively simple that you could take it for granted until the angle of light changes and its full beauty is suddenly revealed...a tale as tangling, tricksy and enchanted as the Fair Folk themselves."
"From Lisa Goldstein, one of our most subtle and enduring writers, comes this exquisite interweaving of fairy tale and modern life. The Uncertain Places demonstrates that love and the stuff of legends are sometimes indistinguishable and share the same dark bed."
"A gripping story that twists with compelling dream-logic; Goldstein's fairytale family radiate believable unreality, and the faerie realm contained herein evinces the perfect mix of terror and attraction. Start reading this at your peril; once I did, I couldn’t stop until I was done."
"Goldstein fearlessly rubs the dreamlike logic of fairytales up against stark realism, and each one makes the other more real."
"It's an engaging look at Northern California in the 70's by way of the Brothers Grimm...a shrewd and satisfying venture down the crooked paths and unpredictable byways of the Otherworld."
-Patricia A. McKillip
"It's all about family values: ancient legacies, young love, dumb luck and home cooking. And no one understands better than Lisa Goldstein that terror is a dish best served cold."
"Warning: this book contains graphic scenes of non-consensual housekeeping."
"Goldstein is in fine form with a darkly compelling modern fairytale."
Praise for Lisa Goldstein
"She has given us the kind of magic and adventure that once upon a time made us look for secret panels in the halls of wardrobes, or brush our teeth with a book held in front of our eyes, because we couldn't bear to put it down."
-The New Yorker
"Lisa Goldstein is the perfect, born storyteller. Her story pulls you in and wraps you round and it is hard to think of anything else until it is over."
-Diana Wynne Jones
"Lisa Goldstein's work deserves to be celebrated along with that of Alice Walker and Shirley Jackson."
"Lisa Goldstein…never writes the same type of story twice, and she never disappoints." —Mark Graham, Denver Rocky Mountain News