CATMAGIC by Jonathan with Whitley Strieber Barry


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A mixed bag of fairy lore and sf fantasy, which appears to be a first novel by Barry touched up by old horror-master Strieber (The Hunger, The Wolfen). Evidently, though, Strieber has not tried to remake Barry in his own image but has allowed him his excesses and amateurisms. Amanda Walker, 23, a prize-winning illustrator of children's books, brings her sheaf of sketches and notes for illustrations for her own version of the Grimm fairy tales to Maywell, New Jersey, where she plans to visit Constance Collier, the famous old author of the great poem Faery. Collier is a benign witch, and her wondrous old home and grounds are properly spook-ridden with real fairies, who are themselves watched over by the King of the Cats, a big raggedy black tom who is the symbol of death. On her trip to visit Collier, Amanda also stays with her half-batty scientist uncle George at Maywell State College. Uncle George has just brought a dead frog back to life, then a female rhesus monkey. But when he sends his willing assistant, Bonnie, into the land of the dead, he has trouble bringing her back--and when she does return, she has become the guilty figure of a nun from her school days whom she'd accused of lesbianism. Now Connie Collier tells Amanda that she too can make a ""sea-crossing,"" into the House of Grandfather Death, if she dares, and return alive. Meanwhile, Connie's coven is threatened by the mean and crazy Fundmentalist preacher Brother Simon Pierce, who thinks Amanda should be burned at the stake. Uncle George's story seems to belong in another novel (though the deaths of the frog and monkey are less clichÉd than those of the humans), while the fairy world falls somewhere between compelling and cloying. Even so, an interesting semi-debut.

Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 1986
Publisher: Tor--dist. by St. Martin's