In the Cities of Coin and Spice and In the Night Garden introduced readers to the unique and intoxicating imagination of Catherynne M. Valente. Now she weaves a lyrically erotic spell of a place where the grotesque and the beautiful reside and the passport to our most secret fantasies begins with a stranger’s kiss.…
Between life and death, dreaming and waking, at the train stop beyond the end of the world is the city of Palimpsest. To get there is a miracle, a mystery, a gift, and a curse—a voyage permitted only to those who’ve always believed there’s another world than the one that meets the eye. Those fated to make the passage are marked forever by a map of that wondrous city tattooed on their flesh after a single orgasmic night. To this kingdom of ghost trains, lion-priests, living kanji, and cream-filled canals come four travelers: Oleg, a New York locksmith; the beekeeper November; Ludovico, a binder of rare books; and a young Japanese woman named Sei. They’ve each lost something important—a wife, a lover, a sister, a direction in life—and what they will find in Palimpsest is more than they could ever imagine.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of Family & Relationships eBook: Palimpsest|
|Release Date: 02-24-2009|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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Sic Transit Tokyo
Sei pressed her cheek against the cold glass; strips of black mountains tore by under lantern-blue clouds beyond her wide window. She knew a man was watching her—the way men on trains always watched her. The train car rocked gently from side to side, hushing its charges like a worried mother. She chewed on the ends of her dark blue hair. A stupid childhood habit, but Sei couldn't let it go. She let the wet curl fall back against her bare shoulder blades. She stroked the glass with her fingertips, shifted her hips against the white of the carriage—she was always moved to do this on the long-distance trains which crisscrossed the islands like corset stays. They were so pale and pure and unfathomably fast, like iridescent snakes hissing down to the sea. The Shinkansen was always pristine, always perfect, its aim always true.
Sei's skin prickled as the man's eyes slid over her back. She felt their cold black weight, shifting her shoulders to bear up under it. He would be watching the small of her back now, where her silver-black shirt fell away into a mess of carefully arranged silk ropes and tin chains. He would watch her angles under the strings, the crease of her legs beneath an immodest skirt, her lips moving against the glass. The little wet fog of her breath. She could almost tell what he looked like without turning her head: good black suit, a little too small, clutching his briefcase like a talisman, probably a little gray at the temples, no rings on his hands. They all looked like that.
Sei turned, her blue hair brushing her hipbones. Good black suit, a little too small, clutched briefcase, freckles of gray in the hair. No rings. He did not ...