"Of those writers who stoically refuse to trudge along horror fiction's well-worn path, Joyce, with British Fantasy Awards to his credit for Requiem and The Tooth Fairy, has perhaps had the most success. And now we can add to that list The Stormwatcher... For this remarkable, fine and almost unclassifiable book is a complete breath of fresh air, even considering his past achievements.
The story is simply (!) the interaction of a group of somewhat dysfunctional friends during a two-week holiday in a lonely cottage in the Dordogne region of France. The group comprises James and his French wife, Sabine, and their two young daughters - Beth and the confused Jessie -plus James's one-time colleague Matt and his wife, Chrissie ... and, just to make things interesting, the sultry Rachel, another work-chum of James and one with whom he has shared considerably more than the occasional business meeting.
As the story progresses we discover that one of the party - an unnamed instructor whose identity is kept hidden until the end of the book - is engaged in secret lessons with the impressionable Jessie, for reasons not immediately clear. Meanwhile, courtesy of a nicely-realized series of tense-changed flashbacks, we learn more of the instructor's background and an almost symbiotic relationship in which both she and her lover speak only lies to each other.
All the time, Jessie grows more intense and confused while, around her, other members of the party grow, by turn, increasingly belligerent or subservient, manipulative or malleable, paranoid or confident. And underpinning the sequence of events is an intense feeling of primal sensuality evoked both by the environment and an approaching storm (its progress cleverly interjected into the proceedings by a series of half-page chapters explaining meteorological behaviour) and by the behaviour of the adults as their feelings for each other - and their protectiveness and confusion at the antics of and comments from young Jessie - swirl and eddy."
Signed by the author. This is the only US edition.
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No BioFrom Publishers Weekly:
Stormy emotions and turbulent revelations charge the tense atmosphere of this cunning exercise in magic realism, first published in the U.K. as a paperback original in 1998. Set in the French countryside, it presents the daily interactions of a group of British travelers who discover that vacationing together is no holiday. James, the outing organizer, is an arrogant prat who spends most of the trip demeaning his easygoing friend Matt; Matt's wife, Chrissie; and Rachel, an ex-mistress whom James has asked along to help his wife, Sabine, supervise their two girls. As friction among them intensifies, the lies and self-deceptions that have kept them civil give way to truths that emerge as a shadowy alternate reality. The novel's building emotional tempest is catalyzed by Jessie, James and Sabine's precocious preteen daughter, who secretly converses with a mysterious, seemingly invisible adult instructor. The identity of this instructor is the key to unlocking the narrative's occasional sidesteps into fantasy. Though his characters sometimes seem too self-aware to behave so meanly, Joyce (The Facts of Life) gives them solid psychological grounding and uses every detail of the external environment-from primitive paintings in a nearby cave to the increasingly ominous weather-as a carefully crafted corollary to their states of mind. Readers who have savored his recent excursions into mainstream fantasy will find this early tale a piquant foretaste.
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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110140269231
Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0140269231
Book Description Penguin Books Ltd 1998-01-01, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 0140269231 We guarantee all of our items - customer service and satisfaction are our top priorities. Please allow 4 - 14 business days for Standard shipping, within the US. Bookseller Inventory # TM-0140269231