Synopses & Reviews
Robert Stones remarkable new novel is a psychological thriller of razor-sharp intensity: mysterious, erotic, and deeply readable.
Michael Ahearn, a professor at a rural college, sheds his comfortable assumptions when he becomes obsessed with a new faculty member from the Caribbean, Lara Purcell. An expert in Third World politics, Lara is seductive, dangerous and in thrall, she claims, to a voodoo spirit who has taken possession of her soul.
Impassioned and determined, Michael pursues Lara to her native island of St. Trinity, heedless of the political upheaval there. Together they desperately attempt to reclaim all that Lara has lost. Yet island intrigue ensnares them. Lara sacrifices herself to ritual and superstition. Michael is caught unawares in a high-stakes smuggling scheme. In his feverish state of mind, the world becomes an ever-shifting phantasmagoria. He is, himself, possessed.
In Bay of Souls, readers will recognize the trademarks of Stones greatest fiction: the American embroiled in Third World corruption, the diplomats and covert operatives, the idealists and opportunists. Yet here the authors sights are set inward, to a place where politics is superfluous, experience unreliable. Never before has Stone probed so powerfully the psychological depths of one mans mind. What he finds there defies expectations.
"[A] tight, brilliantly observed tale....All of Stone's characters here are etched in the acid of hard truth, with Stone probing deep....[A] novel of bold prose and subtle perceptions, a small, hard gem from a master writer." Publishers Weekly
"[B]loodcurdling....A small masterpiece, possessed of a relentless lucidity that recalls Conrad and Graham Greene at their peaks. Stone's best yet." Kirkus Reviews
"[A] kind of small gem: perfectly chiseled and revealing an icy clarity at its core that is as frightening as it is hypnotic." Bill Ott, Booklist
"Lately Robert Stone has specialized in writing novels that combine the rich textures of literary fiction with the exciting stories of thrillers....When Stone pulls it off as he does more often than not in Bay of Souls...the result has a fizzy, unsettling menace....This is the territory of Joseph Conrad and Graham Greene..." Laura Miller, Salon.com
"[F]ascinating....[A] highly concentrated work, probably the least violent yet most unnerving of his novels....It's a pleasure to watch this writer at work as he individualizes his portraits of people gripped by beliefs and passions of unusual intensity." Norman Rush, The New York Times Book Review
"Bay of Souls
becomes, page by page, increasingly hypnotic, crescendoing into a feverish, unforgettable conclusion." Adrienne Miller, Esquire
(read the entire Esquire review
"Bay of Souls
is minor Stone in scope and length....But it is full of splendid writing, and the third-person narration is marked by frisky, subtle elisions....As a novelist, Stone is of course even more securely trapped than Michael: he can protest literary vitalism only literarily, and his novel's biggest point "Without physical courage...there is no moral courage" may seem derivative too, of Hemingway. But you've got to admire any novel and this is one that actually yearns to put its money where its mouth is." Thomas Mallon, The Atlantic Monthly
(read the entire Atlantic review
Stone's fever dream of possession is a remarkable new psychological thriller of razor-sharp intensity: mysterious, erotic, and deeply readable. When a college professor pursues Lara Purcell to her native island of St. Trinity, he is caught unawares in a high-stakes smuggling scheme as his world becomes an ever-shifting phantasmagoria.
A new novel from an American master, Bay of Souls is a gripping tale of romantic obsession set against the backdrop of an island revolution. Michael Ahearn is a midwestern English professor who abandons his comfortable life when he becomes obsessed with a new colleague from the Caribbean, Lara Purcell. When Lara claims a vodoun spirit has taken possession of her soul, Michael follows her to her native St. Trinity, only to find himself in a whirlpool of Third World corruption. A finely wrought tale of one mans moral dissolution, Bay of Souls showcases Robert Stone at his most provocative and psychologically acute.
About the Author
Robert Stone is the author of six previous novels: A Hall of Mirrors, Dog Soldiers (winner of the National Book Award), A Flag for Sunrise, Children of Light, Outerbridge Reach, and Damascus Gate. His story collection, Bear and His Daughter, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.