Picks and Pans Review: The Thin Place

updated 01/30/2006 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/30/2006 AT 01:00 AM EST

By Kathryn Davis

Nothing is predictable in Kathryn Davis's thrillingly strange new novel. Tossed around like a Frisbee, the book's point of view zips from one character to another, as everyone—young and old, male and female, animal and human—gets a chance to tell us how today's world looks to the inhabitants of the small community of Varennes, near the Canadian border. Nursing home residents, married couples, children and beloved pets reflect on the town's scandals and secrets, its tragedies and romances, as well as on more metaphysical subjects: the body and the soul, the mysteries and beauties of nature and the apparently miraculous powers that enable a local school girl to resurrect the dead. As this original tale gradually reveals its deeper, spiritual concerns, you may feel as if you've been watching Thornton Wilder's Our Town while under the influence of some benevolent, consciousness-altering substance.

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