Thursday, August 25, 2011
The Soul Thief - by Charles Baxter
There are several places in the story in which books and reading are mentioned, only one passing mention of a library, though, when Mason wonders where his girlfriend, Theresa, is when she doesn't answer her phone. "Perhaps she is resting up after her social exertions. Or is out in the library, foraging in the stacks." Since she is a graduate student, that is a good bet. There is also one librarian metaphor. Mason and Coolberg reminisce about Theresa during their reunion dinner. Mason says "She was pretty." Coolberg disagrees. "Thesesa was attractive without being pretty. She had the banal sensibilities of a local librarian who's moved to the big city and started serious drinking and making semi-comical overstatements to disguise her obvious gaps." That's quite a specific stereotype. How many librarians are really like that?
A rather surreal story, this probably warrants a second reading, which would likely reveal layers of meaning, and some foreshadowing that I missed. I will leave that for someone else to do, though.