THE JUDAS GLASS by Michael Cadnum


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 The author of The Horses of the Night (1993), among seven others, continues his rise with a modern vampire romance that harks back to the metaphysical poets' device not only of trading eyes but bodies as well. Cadnum's story at first seems simplistic, satirical, and thoroughly unserious. But midway the prose jells to a philosophical lyricism rarely found in this genre. San Francisco lawyer Richard Stirling, who's sure his cool, infertile wife Connie plays around, has himself taken a lover, the blind classical pianist Rebecca Pennant. When Rebecca is murdered in her bathroom and her house burned down, Connie's all sympathy. Then, to Richard's surprise, a strange mirror is delivered to his door: an antique with white wood frame and a carved unicorn. When Richard nicks his finger on the back edge of the mirror, it won't stop bleeding, even when treated by the family physician, Dr. Opal. Later, quite faint, Richard falls through a restaurant's glass door--and wakes up nine months later buried and in a sealed coffin, an exquisitely rendered Poe- esque turn. Once he claws his way from the grave and staggers to Dr. Opal's house, the surprised doctor rids his amazing patient of embalming fluid and replaces it with blood. Soon enough, Richard finds he must have human blood and sets about bloodsucking. His real mission: to find and destroy Rebecca's murderer. Eventually, he digs Rebecca up and feeds her his own blood, restoring her corpse to life, after which the love story takes over: The two hide in a stolen yacht at sea (wonderful storms) and in a redwood forest, feeding on deer (Rebecca detests murder, though hunger for human blood overcomes her). When the lovers are burned to bone, the story lifts heavenward into their post-life together: ``People are all that holds the sky in place . . . This is what the stars can never equal, this glittering minutia, the subtle accidents of lives.'' Chopin's Fantasie-impromptu for vampires.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-7867-0239-7
Page count: 320pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1995


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