The Green Man by Michael Bedard
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
"The Green Man" is a bookstore, owned by Emily, a 70-year-old poet; O, her teenage niece has been sent to spend the summer with her while O's father travels to Italy to research Ezra Pound. The store is dilapidated, with an almost Hoarder-esque interior and O sets out to clean and organize. She realizes that there's something odd about the store: she sees people that aren't really there, hears noises and smells roses where there are none.
Interspersed with O's story is the tale of a night at a magic show for children and the tricks the magician does (like the Indian Basket and the Human Salamander). The problem isn't the tricks but the overwhelming sense of evil that emanates from Professor Mephisto.
Over time the odder, eerier elements take over and the "rips in the fabric of time" more evident. While the bookstore's poet-ghosts are benign, it's unclear what the motives of "Rimbaud" and several other characters are. Ultimately, everything comes together but the climax doesn't live up to the build-up.
ARC provided by publisher.