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The Soul Thief by Charles Baxter
The Soul Thief begins in Buffalo in the early 1970s where Nathaniel Mason is a graduate student. He's just a face in the crowd and his social circle revolves around three people. Theresa is beautiful woman who keep an emotional distance, Jamie is a lesbian for whom Nathaniel feels a romantic longing, and Jerome Coolberg is a genius with some unknown grand destiny. Somehow, Jerome begins to speak about things in Nathaniel's past that Nathaniel never shared with him and there are repeated burglaries in Nathaniel's room. Nathaniel begins to suspect that Jerome is stealing his life and identity, and this loss of sense of self sends his world spiraling out of control. Charles Baxter's novel has received mostly positive reviews with the San Francisco Chronicle saying, "Baxter's newest work, though, gives us shivers for more than just this eerie exploration of identity and identity theft. It's the story of a sentimentalist wrestling with sentimentality, charity and friendship, all focused through a middle-class American lens."