The Thin Place
The title of her latest novel is a term from Celtic Christianity, used to describe a place where the physical and spiritual worlds meet. It takes place in a fictitious New England town, present day, during the spring and summer.
It is an extraordinary book. I won't say it's a complete success, because it ultimately relies on some unconvincing plot details to give it a sense of forward motion, but it is one of the most wonderfully (in the sense of "full of wonder") written novels I have ever read. The author really does create a thin place of her own in this modern American town, and makes us see the awesome variety, beauty, and terror of creation in every small detail.
The book is really a series of marvelous details and highly original observations, an ambitious attempt to weave reality and dream, fact and myth, pagan and Christian into one fabric. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn't. It overreaches in places and becomes merely confusing or oqaque. And the conclusion seems forced and unconvincing, dispelling some of the novel's intricate sense of wonder. But the overall effect is unlike any other book I have ever read. There is humor here as well, and an engaging cast of small-town eccentrics.
For those who need a tightly plotted story or prose with the clarity of Hemingway, forget it. For those who simply enjoy getting drunk on words, a feast.