Once again I’m taking part in the AW book chain.
The book I chose this time is one I never get tired of reading, The Wood Wife, by Terry Windling.
At first glance, the Wood Wife is a murder mystery. Maggie Black inherits a house in Arizona from poet, Davis Cooper (who she has never met, yet has corresponded with for a number of years) after he’s found dead in a dry wash, his lungs full of water. Maggie, poet herself, leaves her cosmopolitan life-style behind to move into Cooper’s house to do a biography of him.
As she delves deeper into Cooper’s life, through the notes and letters he left behind, she finds the mystery only deepens. Did Cooper write another book of poetry, as she long suspected? And what was it that his deceased lover, surrealist painter Anna Naverra, experienced up on the mountain that changed her?
The vivid descriptions of the desert increase the sense of wonder when the magical creatures begin to appear, like Thumper, the jack rabbit girl, Crow, the man Maggie meets on the mountain, and the white stag, who leaves turquoise behind where his hooves strike the earth.
The characters are realistic and believable. We have Maggie herself, a writer and lapsed poet who lives an almost nomadic existence trying to escape life. Johnny Foxxe, a native of Tucson and one of Cooper’s neighbours, and whose origins are anything but ordinary. And there’s Dora del Rio, a young woman transplanted from the mid-west when she married her husband, a struggling artist who may be falling into the same trap that Anna had.
As Maggie unravels the mystery that is Cooper’s life, and death, she finds herself drawn into a world more strange than she ever imagined. Windling tells this tale in such a vivid, lyrical way that you can’t help being drawn in as well.
Please take the time to read the other links in the chain, you won't be sorry. Those who’ve gone before me are:
And last, but certainly not least, is: