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Steps Through the Mist Hardcover – September 30, 2007

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Serbian speculative fictionist Zivkovic's latest novel to be released in the U.S. (after 2006's Seven Touches of Music) isn't so much a literary work to be read as it is one to be reveled in. Like a great work of abstract art, this surrealistic novel—about five women who contend with fate in very different ways—is layered with subtle symbolism and nuance, and should be savored slowly so that the profound, and sometimes disturbing, existential underpinnings can be duly discerned. Featuring story lines about a schoolgirl who can see into other people's dreams, an institutionalized woman with the ability to know the future, a world-weary fortune teller who stumbles across true divination, a skier who's offered unconventional wisdom on a mountaintop and an elderly woman who loses her will to live when her alarm clock breaks, this montage of stories is as enlightening as it is entrancing. (Sept.)
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Review

"Simply stated, Zoran Zivkovic is one of the most visionary and talented speculative fiction novelists in the world."  —The New York Review of Science Fiction



"Ethereal and intelligent . . . Zivkovic writes novels that slot together fables in delicate layers and books that subtly re-define reality."  —The Agony Column



"Each story by itself is a masterpiece in short fiction but the whole, ah the whole!"  —Ideomancer



"Zivkovic's stories are deceptively simple and beautifully written. . . . [N]ew readers will be likely to look for all [the mosaic novels in Zivkovic's Impossible Stories cycle]."  —The Seacoast


"Confirms Zivkovic's status as a master. The book's chief flaw is that there is simply not enough of it, leaving us wanting more."  —Fantasy Book Spot

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Aio Publishing Company (September 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933083107
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933083100
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 6.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,257,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Shaun Duke on February 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Steps Through the Mist is a mosaic novel similar to Zoran's previous Seven Touches of Music. The difference is the theme and in the presentation. Here the theme is mist, but it presents itself very loosely in some of the stories, which seems like it would be a negative thing, but it actually works out wonderfully. There are five stories, each with a different character and a different internal issue. "Disorder in the Head" explores dreams with a really interesting twist; "Hole in the Wall" delves into the world of future-sight and insanity, begging the question: are people who claim to see the future really crazy? Pre-determination (or Destiny) is discussed in "Geese in the Mist", while "Line of the Palm" takes a different approach to the same subject. Lastly is "Alarm Clock on the Night Table". With such a simplistic title it really doesn't say much about the story itself, which turns out to be a tale of the past, and seeing into it.
Mist, the common theme, shows up as a semi-mystical element in each story. "Alarm Clock" uses it as a sort of Twilight Zone element, pulling the main character into a mystical journey into the past. Unlike Seven Touches of Music it is really difficult to pick a favorite. I really love "Alarm Clock", but "Disorder in the Head" and "Hole in the Wall" were just as entertaining. In fact, all the stories are really very good in how they incorporate mist into the stories and how different each story is. While Zoran does use a similar 'format' in how some of the stories play out, as in Seven Touches of Music, the majority of them are presented very differently. The mist theme is either a very noticeable element--integral to the story as in "Alarm Clock"--or as a side element--as in "Line of the Palm".
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Format: Hardcover
Serbian essayist and author of speculative fiction Zivkovic reflects on the nature of fate and character in this "mosaic" novel, a group of thematically linked stories, surrealistic in feel and style, each of which share the metaphor of mist.

Sparely, precisely written, each of the five stories focuses on a woman at a different point in life and how she deals with a fate thrust upon her.

In the first story, there are actually two women affected - a young student and a prim, straight-backed teacher who believes she has seen everything a girl can come up with. When the girl claims the ability to share others' dreams, the teacher is forced to exert control in the only way she knows.

In the second a young woman is confronted with the ultimate nightmare - an infinite choice of futures, each infinitely clear to her, from which she must choose. In the third a middle-aged skier, freighted with choice, makes a very different decision, and in the fourth a fortuneteller confronts a very short lifeline and her own responsibility.

In the fifth story an old woman wakes to a silence that underscores her lifelong regret for a prideful, youthful impulse.

Zivkovic's stories are deceptively simple and beautifully written, touching on the connections between age, character, wisdom, experience, free will and fate while posing some very strange circumstances, ranging from fanciful to nightmarish.

This is the last mosaic novel in Zivkovic's "Impossible Stories" cycle and new readers will be likely to look for them all.
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