Fiction Stuart Cohen Invisible World

ISBN 13: 9780002257039

Invisible World

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9780002257039: Invisible World

An invitation from a dead man propels a Chicago plumber on a perilous journey from blue-collar America to the exotic Far East -- and beyond into dangerous, unchartered territory. Stylish, elegant and thrilling, Stuart Cohen's provocative debut 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 the unseen world.

Andrew Mann's mundane existence ends the day he receives an astonishing communication from his jet-setting childhood friend, Clayton Smith. Over the years, Clayton had sent Andy one postcard after another, chronicling his daring worldwide travels as well as his tranformation into a cosmopolitan, successful artist in Hong Kong. Matters take a surreal turn when Clayton sends Andy an airplane ticket to Asia along with an invitation to his own funeral, dispatched shortly before his mysterious suicide. Clayton's posthumous message to his conventional friend: "I've always been a wild card. Play me."

Set on an irrevocably life-changing course, the reluctant Chicagoan becomes entangled in Clayton's treasure hunt for the perfect textile, an exquisite fabric mapping the "Invisible World" that lies beyond our senses. The lines between the material world and the invisible one lose distinction on this challenging, ciruitous quest, bringing Andy to the awe-inspiring vastness of Inner Mongolia... and the discovery of the strength and power within every man.

Romantic and exciting, Stuart Cohen's graceful and provocative novel is a stunning literary journey. Peopled with intense, fascinating characters set in rich, exotic locales, and accented with touches of magical realism, this exhilarating expedition to the edge of the world will leave readers inspired.

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Review:

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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