Stock Image
Image Not Available

Visible Worlds

Bowering, Marilyn

55 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0002257246 / ISBN 13: 9780002257244
Published by Harper Flamingo/Harper Collins, 1998, 1998
Used Hardcover
From Reed's Rare Books (San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since February 25, 1999

Quantity Available: 1

About this Item

1st U.S. edition SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR NF/NF. Bookseller Inventory # 4091

Ask Seller a Question

Bibliographic Details

Title: Visible Worlds

Publisher: Harper Flamingo/Harper Collins, 1998

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

In Visible Worlds, award-winning Canadian poet and playwright Marilyn Bowering has created a beguiling, multilayered fiction that brings together two seemingly disparate stories as it races the shattering personal consequences of war. Spanning the middle part of our century, with World War II and the Korean War as its fulcrum, the novel expertly distills an epic story into a finely limned, elegant narrative of understated proportions.

Set in Canada, Germany, Korea, and the Soviet Union, Visible Worlds begins in 1960, with the death of Nate Bone on a Winnipeg football field, as his family and friends stand by and watch. The story then shifts to the tundra of Siberia, where, at the same time, a young woman identified only as Fika is trying to make her way from the Soviet Union to freedom. As the novel unfolds, these two seemingly unrelated events--literally worlds apart--become key pieces in Bowering's astonishing fictional puzzle.

That puzzle is assembled by Albrecht Storr, one of twin sons of German immigrants, who becomes the primary narrator of the novel. Looking back to 1935, when he, his brother Gerhard, and Nate were children together, Albrecht slowly recounts a chain of extraordinary events set off when Nate, still suffering from the death of his sister, kidnaps an infant girl. That reckless, long undetected act leaves few lives unaffected, and will lead, a quarter of a century later, to Fika's remarkable journey across the spare, life-threatening, yet inconceivably beautiful frozen landscape.

A cast of singular and highly memorable characters play out the drama of Visible Worlds. Albrecht's mother is a proud German whose devotion to what she views as the superior culture of the Fatherland has tragic consequences. His eccentric father believes in the literal power of human magnetism. Nate's mother, a once-beautiful bareback rider, plunges into insanity, while her philandering husband runs off with a tiger trainer for the circus. Seen through the prism of these characters' lives, the public horrors of this century come to reflect a personal legacy of abandonment, betrayal, and collective guilt.

A masterful, highly imaginative storyteller, Marilyn Bowering has infused her fiction with a lyrical magic and haunting emotional resonance.

"In Visible Worlds, Marilyn Bowering stretches a net of precise and capacious language across decades, continents, history, and landscapes, then gradually tightens it until her quarry stands revealed: the conjunctions of will and chance of which human fates are made. And always hovering are the magnetic lines of the heart--which burst forth sometimes in speed or deed, sometimes in celestial displays, always in the abiding mystery of connection."
--Jane Hirshfield

Review:

Marilyn Bowering's Visible Worlds introduces at least 12 characters, cuts from Winnipeg to Siberia to the North Pole, shifts back and forth in time from 1960 to 1934, and depicts three crucial deaths. And that's just the first 14 pages. There's more to come--much more--in this book that takes on the Great Depression, World War II, and the Korean War, exploring their effects on three improbably intertwined families. The plot's remarkable contortions are too labyrinthine to describe here, but suffice to say they involve meteors, Nazis, several dead, deformed, and abandoned babies, personal magnetism, labor camps, polar exploration, the Odd Fellows, circus performers, and lots and lots of snow. Like her fellow Canadian Michael Ondaatje, Marilyn Bowering is primarily a poet, and her background shows: in the book's lovely imagery, in its striking economy of language, and also, perhaps, in its greatest narrative shortcoming. Ranging over four continents and nearly three decades, Visible Worlds often feels overly compressed, as if it wanted to be a longer, more leisurely book. On the other hand, this lyric compression gives the novel an almost violent intensity. With its complex web of settings, time periods, and plots, often connected by the most tenuous of threads, Visible Worlds feels like a fever dream yanked straight from the collective 20th-century unconscious. --Mary Park

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Store Description

We specialize in fine first editions of 20th and 21st century fiction, as well as selected nonfiction works. Nearly all of our books are first printings, and the few that are not are clearly designated as later printings. We welcome visitors by appointment.

Visit Seller's Storefront

Terms of Sale:

All first editions are first printings unless otherwise specified. All books are subject to prior sale, and we hold books for 10 days only.We
accept payment in checks or money orders in U.S. dollars. Priority postage for domestic
shipping is $7.50 for first book, $4.00 for each additional book; overseas
shipments are billed at approximate cost.California residents must add 8.50%
sales tax. We offer free media mail shipping under certain circumstances; please inquire before ordering. Books may be...

More Information
Shipping Terms:

Shipping costs are based on books weighing 2.2 LB, or 1 KG. If your book order is heavy or oversized, we may contact you to let you know extra shipping is required.

List this Seller's Books

Payment Methods
accepted by seller

Visa Mastercard American Express

Check Money Order