CASTLEVIEW by Gene Wolfe
Kirkus Star


Email this review


Odd, distinctive, many-layered fantasy from the author of Soldier of Arete, There Are Doors, Free Live Free, etc. The town of Castleview, Illinois, has a singular distinction: sometimes it is possible to glimpse a phantom castle against the sky, a phenomenon that the inhabitants feel rather ambivalent about. On the day after her husband has been mysteriously murdered, Sally shows her house to prospective buyers Will, Ann, and their daughter Mercedes. Will spies the castle from the attic and thereafter is obsessed by it. Mercedes slips away with Sally's son, Seth, only to become involved in eerie adventures. Later, Sally is plagued by the diminutive, oddball Mr. Fee, who slips into the house but is never to be found when the sheriff arrives. Wrangler, the hired hand of the riding school owned by Lisa, is found lying in the rain, badly hurt. Dr. von Madadh, a self-styled expert on the supernatural, works hard to persuade Will and Sally of his good intentions, but merely succeeds in arousing Will's suspicions. The castle, you see, belongs to Morgan le Fay; a good-vs-evil showdown/rearrangment of reality is imminent; and Will is fated to replace, or perhaps become, Arthur. Few writers other than Wolfe, with his polished, assured, persuasive style, could bring this unlikely premise to intriguing life. Clever, unusual, and disquieting, to be sure--though seasoned observers will note, once again, that Wolfe's great strength is middles, not beginnings and especially not endings.

Pub Date: April 20th, 1990
Publisher: Tor--dist. by St. Martin's