The most recent (1998) of Germain's highly charged Gothic antiromances set in the French countryside (close kin to her The Book of Nights and Night of Amber) is a quirky retelling of the biblical apocryphal tale of Tobias. Its principal characters—both hyper-real and ineffably striking—include a guileless wayfarer, his pragmatic guardian angel, and a beautiful young woman who is either an innocent virgin or Death's handmaiden on earth (if, indeed, not both). Germain's atmospheric landscapes are clogged with haunting detail, but her people are so freighted with garish eccentricities and mythic resonances that it's often initially difficult to credit their reality. Once you've entered her hothouse fictional world, however, there's no resisting its gorgeous, impossible density and seductiveness. An acquired taste, her ineffably odd books are nevertheless highly accomplished performances.