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THE WOOD WIFE by Terri  Windling


by Terri Windling

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-312-85988-0
Publisher: Tor

Distinctive contemporary fantasy set in the Arizona desert, from the well-known editor (the annual Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, with Ellen Datlow, etc.). When the prize-winning, gin- sozzled English poet Davis Cooper died in a dry gully (of drowning!) near his home east of Tucson, he left his house, papers, and real estate to budding poet Maggie Black, with whom he had corresponded but had never met. Separating from her talented but demanding musician husband Nigel, Maggie takes up residence in Cooper's old house, discovering fragments of unpublished poems, together with a gallery of extraordinary paintings left by Cooper's lover, Anna Navarra--paintings that Maggie finds both provocative and disturbing. The locals, too, seem to hint of another, unseen world behind the real one, a world of magic and metamorphoses that Maggie can almost perceive, whose landscape is defined by mysterious, powerful mages operating by rules that she finds herself gradually able to comprehend. To understand Cooper, Navarra, and the unseen world, Maggie must delve deep inside her own being, where, ultimately, she will find the key to her own poetry--as well as the means to transcend space and time, to actually meet Cooper and unravel the mystery of his bizarre death. A splendid desert enchantment that flows with its own eerie logic--arresting, evocative, and well worked out despite the entirely superfluous last couple of chapters.