The Complete Tales of Ketzia Gold is a lavishly poetic novel that recounts through folklore and fairy stories the visionary obsessions of a passionate young woman. The narrative moves freely through time and space, uniting Ketzia Gold's early childhood with her sexual awakenings, creating a dreamscape of haunting vividness. Young Ketzia inhabits a storybook world of hallucinatory comedy and terror, surrounded by predatory adults, talking magnolias, and troll-like siblings. Her childhood romance with talented, brilliant Adam Brown flowers briefly into a marriage of tenderness and erotic fervor, but Ketzia cannot escape her own intelligence, and soon finds herself compelled toward intoxicating self-destruction. Kate Bernheimer draws upon the motifs of traditional German, Russian and Yiddish folklore to shape Ketzia's bewildering adventures. The Complete Tales of Ketzia Gold embroiders a visionary realism in the manner of Doris Lessing and Clarice Lispector, making Bernheimer's story a rich tapestry, patterned after childhood longings and the luxuriant complexity of womanhood.
KATE BERNHEIMER is a lecturer in English at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon. She has been a George Bennett Fellow in Creative Writing at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and has tought in the Summer Writing Program at Harvard. She edited Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore their Favorite Fairy Tales (Anchor Books, 1998). The Complete Tales of Ketzie Gold is her first novel.