Invisible World: A Novel

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9781940423043: Invisible World: A Novel
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An invitation from a dead man propels a Chicago plumber on a perilous journey from Hong Kong to Inner Mongolia in search of a fabled map of the Invisible World

Andrew Mann's mundane existence ends the day his jet-setting childhood friend, Clayton Smith, sends Andrew an airplane ticket to Asia along with an invitation to his own funeral, dispatched shortly before his mysterious suicide. Stylish, elegant and thrilling, Stuart Cohen's debut novel draws readers into a treacherous world of artists and smugglers, duplicitous friends and seductive enemies. Invisible World is both a novel of adventure and a mesmerizing exploration of an unseen world.

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A predawn call startles Andy Mann from slumber. The voice of a stranger breaks the news that Clayton Smith--childhood friend, world traveler, and flamboyant artist--has committed suicide; the revelation that he made plans for his own funeral a few days later in Hong Kong complicates the mystery, as does the fact that he was finally about to make the trip of his dreams to Inner Mongolia. Andy, by comparison a stay-at-home, chronically enervated Chicagoan plagued by a succession of failed careers, has ended up tending to his father's ailing business. With only a day's notice to prepare for Clayton's funeral, Andy hesitates; his father's business needs his attention, and his friendship with Clayton had been waning for a long time. In the end, though, he does attend, spurred on by Clayton's final cryptic message to him: "I've always been your wild card. Play me."

Reminiscences of the friendship and Clayton's rise from restless world traveler to successful artist in Tokyo add heart to the narrative, as Andy tries to piece together the events that led to Clayton's death. But the mystery evolves into a treasure hunt as it is revealed that Clayton had been on a quest for an exquisite piece of fabric mapping the "invisible world" that lies beyond the senses.

Invisible World sets a lively pace, creating exotic settings peopled by colorful, original characters. Myriad mysteries pepper the adventure: why did Clayton, finally enjoying artistic success, commit suicide? Why did he so desperately want to visit Inner Mongolia? What is the real value of the invaluable antique fabric? With this sure-footed mystery that doubles as an exhilarating expedition to the edges of the world, Stuart Cohen puts a new spin on the old truth that the lines between the material and the spiritual are an absolute blur.

About the Author:

Stuart Archer Cohen has traveled extensively through the Americas, from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic, as well as China. His trading company, Invisible World, imports and retails wool, silk, alpaca and cashmere clothing from South America and Asia. Cohen’s other novels include The Army of the Republic and 17 Stone Angels. He lives in Juneau, Alaska, with his wife and two sons.

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