Set in Canada, Germany, Korea, and the Soviet Union, Visible Worlds begins in 1960, with the death of Nate Bone on a Winnipeg football field, as his family and friends stand by and watch. The story then shifts to the tundra of Siberia, where, at the same time, a young woman identified only as Fika is trying to make her way from the Soviet Union to freedom. As the novel unfolds, these two seemingly unrelated events--literally worlds apart--become key pieces in Bowering's astonishing fictional puzzle.
That puzzle is assembled by Albrecht Storr, one of twin sons of German immigrants, who becomes the primary narrator of the novel. Looking back to 1935, when he, his brother Gerhard, and Nate were children together, Albrecht slowly recounts a chain of extraordinary events set off when Nate, still suffering from the death of his sister, kidnaps an infant girl. That reckless, long undetected act leaves few lives unaffected, and will lead, a quarter of a century later, to Fika's remarkable journey across the spare, life-threatening, yet inconceivably beautiful frozen landscape.
A cast of singular and highly memorable characters play out the drama of Visible Worlds. Albrecht's mother is a proud German whose devotion to what she views as the superior culture of the Fatherland has tragic consequences. His eccentric father believes in the literal power of human magnetism. Nate's mother, a once-beautiful bareback rider, plunges into insanity, while her philandering husband runs off with a tiger trainer for the circus. Seen through the prism of these characters' lives, the public horrors of this century come to reflect a personal legacy of abandonment, betrayal, and collective guilt.
A masterful, highly imaginative storyteller, Marilyn Bowering has infused her fiction with a lyrical magic and haunting emotional resonance.
"In Visible Worlds, Marilyn Bowering stretches a net of precise and capacious language across decades, continents, history, and landscapes, then gradually tightens it until her quarry stands revealed: the conjunctions of will and chance of which human fates are made. And always hovering are the magnetic lines of the heart--which burst forth sometimes in speed or deed, sometimes in celestial displays, always in the abiding mystery of connection."