Antieau, Kim 1955–
Antieau, Kim 1955–
Born 1955, in LA; married Mario Milosevic (a poet). Education: Eastern Michigan University, B.A., M.A.; University of Arizona, M.L.S., 1987.
Librarian and researcher. Daughters of Nyx: A Magazine of Goddess Stories, Mythmaking, and Fairy Tales, editor, 1994-96.
Blossoms, Pulphouse Publishing (Eugene, OR), 1991.
Trudging to Eden (short stories), Silver Salamander Press (Eugene, OR), 1994.
The Jigsaw Woman (novel), Roc (New York, NY), 1996.
The Gaia Websters (novel), Roc (New York, NY), 1997.
Coyote Cowgirl (novel), Forge (New York, NY), 2003.
Counting on Wildflowers, Aqueduct Press (Seattle, WA), 2005.
Mercy, Unbound (novel), Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2006.
Broken Moon (novel), Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Also author of numerous blogs, short stories, and creative nonfiction, including Unbound Café.
Kim Antieau was born in Louisiana but grew up in Michigan where she attended Eastern Michigan University. After receiving her B.A. and M.A. in English there she earned her M.L.S. from the University of Arizona in 1987. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, poet Mario Milosevic, and she works as a librarian and researcher. Her interests include folklore, myths, and legends; these influences can be seen in the many science-fiction, fantasy and horror stories she has written, as well as in her novels.
Antieau's first novel, The Jigsaw Woman, is the story of Keelie, the product of a plastic surgeon who constructed her for his own purposes from the dead bodies of three other women. Keelie awakens and begins a journey to discover the identities of these three women, uncovering first their most recent situations and eventually journeying back to their past lives, until she is transformed into the death-goddess Eriskegal. Charles De Lint in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction described the book: "The journey is a harrowing one—through witch burnings, the Inquisition, the colonization of the Americas and other dreadful times—and it is told with a poet's eye and an empath's appreciation." A contributor for Kirkus Reviews found The Jigsaw Woman to be "a powerful and impressive statement, with lots of complicated scenarios, relationships, and symbols, though descriptive rather than prescriptive." Don D'Ammassa of Science Fiction Chronicle wrote: "There are times when the novel is outrageously funny, other times when it's creepy, and still others that verge on the tragic."
Antieau's second novel, The Gaia Websters, takes place in the future, during a time when machines are outlawed, and focuses on Gloria Stone, a healer living in the Arizona Territory. Gloria, who has no memory of the past beyond ten years ago, is troubled when an illness she cannot cure threatens her people. Her quest to uncover the source of this illness leads her to the troubling knowledge that she and other healers like herself are actually androids. Disheartened by the realization that she embodies everything she has come to disdain, Gloria must still find a way to help her people and stop the epidemic. This novel, which takes place in Arizona where Antieau earned her M.L.S., shows the author's appreciation for the American West in its vivid descriptions of the territory. Christina Schulman on the Epiphyte Book Review Web site, wrote that the novel has "lovely descriptions of the Arizona desert," and Susan Hamburger of Library Journal likewise found the book "redolent with the sounds and scents of the desert." Despite Antieau's fine descriptive powers, Schulman found the novel a bit disappointing, writing: "Antieau never quite descends into preachiness, but she bounces on it pretty hard a few times. She also fails to fully develop her premise or explain Gloria's healing powers." Margaret Miles, in Voice of Youth Advocates, found The Gaia Websters only "mildly satisfying," but Patricia Monaghan of Booklist called it "an innovative, gripping, very satisfying tale."
Antieau's next novel drew on her love of exploring the American West and her passion for food. Coyote Cowgirl is the story of Jeanne Les Flambeaux, the one failure in a family of culinary geniuses. When her family's ruby scepter, a precious heirloom, is stolen while in her care, Jeanne must embark on a cross-country journey to retrieve it. She takes with her the family's other heirloom, a crystal skull that talks only to Jeanne and claims to have a psychic connection to the scepter. However, her quest becomes more complicated when a series of women go missing along her trail and she becomes concerned for her own safety. Following her story's conclusion Antieau includes some of the famous Flambeaux family's recipes. Antieau explained on her Home Page that the idea for the novel came from her own experiences driving across country with her husband and imagining the things that could go wrong during their journey. She also expressed, "I had more fun writing Coyote Cowgirl than any other book I've ever written." A contributor for Kirkus Reviews called the book "fun, often gripping." Writing in the Bloomsbury Review, Kate Aid noted that the author's "focus on food helps to develop her characters, and grounds the reader in delicious gustatory detail." She commented that although Antieau sometimes adds "too much extract of new age spirituality," she nevertheless "avoids preaching any particular philosophy … allowing her characters to debate for themselves the best way to live." Claude Lalumiere, on the Infinity Plus Web site, commended Antieau's work: "Coyote Cowgirl may ultimately be a bit light and predictable, but its quirky cast of characters is charmingly drawn and there's an infectious sense of fun that permeates the whole book."
In Mercy, Unbound, Antieau explores the world of a young woman suffering from the delusion that she is becoming an angel. She swears that she can feel the wings growing between her shoulder blades, and she cannot understand why her parents—and the others in the New Mexico hospital where they have placed her—cannot see any sign of them. In reality, fifteen-year-old Mercy O'Connor is anorexic. From Mercy's point of view, she does not need to eat. Angels have no need of food. In reality, she is reacting to family history and to crises with which she feels unable to cope. "Mercy is in pain because of all the things she sees happening in her life and in the world," explained Antieau in an interview with Sara Zarr published on the Stories of a Girl Web site, "and she desperately wants to do something to help. It seems like anyone with compassion and empathy would wish for some kind of ability—natural or supernatural—to help alleviate the pain of those around them." "Eventually, Mercy runs away, and finds herself near a Hopi community in the middle of the desert, with no memory of her previous life," stated a reviewer for the Can't Stop Reading Web log. "While she heals in the desert, her parents track her down and come to stay with her." "Antieau finds wise, affirmative answers to all of [Mercy's issues] in her story," wrote Charles de Lint in his Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction review, "letting it unfold in a realistic manner that nevertheless carries a whisper of magical realism."
Broken Moon is set in the distant deserts of Pakistan and the Arabian peninsula, where eighteen-year-old Nadira—scarred and deemed unfit for marriage after a brutal attack and rape years earlier—chooses to leave home and family in a search for her six-year-old brother Umar. Umar has been sold to trainers, who plan to teach him to become a camel-jockey, riding racing camels in the Arabian desert. Nadira abandons her gender and risks further violence to follow and rescue Umar from the Bedouins who hold him as a virtual slave. "Nadira's strong, often poetic voice softens the harshness of her situation," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor, "and allows readers to experience the sounds, tastes and smells of her native land." Soon, she becomes a star camel racer herself. "Camel jockey stardom eventually brings its sweet rewards," stated Kliatt contributor Myrna Marler, "thanks to a kindly Sheikha's intervention." "Antieau presents important issues without letting them overtake the narrative," Claire E. Gross concluded in Horn Book Magazine, "and the classic plot and sympathetic characters add up to an absorbing read."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Bloomsbury Review, July-August, 2003, Kate Aid, review of Coyote Cowgirl, p. 11.
Booklist, June 1, 1997, Patricia Monaghan, review of The Gaia Websters, p. 1668; April 1, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of Mercy, Unbound, p. 31; December 15, 2006, Jennifer Mattson, review of Broken Moon, p. 41.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, April, 2007, Hope Morrison, review of Broken Moon, p. 323.
Horn Book Magazine, May 1, 2007, Claire E. Gross, review of Broken Moon, p. 277.
Kansas City Star, May 31, 2007, "This ‘Moon’ Illuminates a Life."
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 1996, review of The Jigsaw Woman, pp. 104-105; May 1, 2003, review of Coyote Cowgirl, p. 620.
Kliatt, May, 2006, Olivia Durant, review of Mercy, Unbound, p. 17; January 2007, Myrna Marler, review of Broken Moon, p. 6.
Library Journal, May 15, 1997, Susan Hamburger, review of The Gaia Websters, p. 106.
Library Media Connection, August 1, 2006, Pat Bender, review of Mercy, Unbound, p. 74.
Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, February, 1996, Charles de Lint, review of The Jigsaw Woman, pp. 35-37; October 1, 2006, Charles de Lint, review of Mercy, Unbound, p. 35.
Publishers Weekly, April 24, 2006, review of Mercy, Unbound, p. 62; February 26, 2007, review of Broken Moon, p. 92.
School Library Journal, June, 2006, Kristen M. Todd, review of Mercy, Unbound, p. 146; May, 2007, Kathleen Isaacs, review of Broken Moon, p. 128.
Science Fiction Chronicle, May, 1996, Don D'Ammassa, review of The Jigsaw Woman, p. 57.
Voice of Youth Advocates, October, 1997, Margaret Miles, review of The Gaia Websters, pp. 250-251.
Becky's Book Reviews,http://blbooks.blogspot.com/ (December 7, 2007), review of Mercy, Unbound.
Can't Stop Reading,http://cantstopreading.blogspot.com/ (December 7, 2007), review of Mercy, Unbound.
Catch22.com,http://www.catch22.com/ (December 7, 2007).
Church of the Old Mermaids,http://oldmermaids.blogspot.com/ (December 7, 2007), author blog.
Epiphyte Book Review,http://www.epiphyte.net/ (December 7, 2007), Christina Schulman, review of The Gaia Websters.
Furious Spinner,http://furiousspinner.com/ (December 7, 2007), author blog.
Green Man Review Online,http://www.greenmanreview.com/ (December 7, 2007), Maria Nutick, review of Coyote Cowgirl.
Infinity Plus,http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/ (December 7, 2007), Claude Lalumiere, review of Coyote Cowgirl.
Kim Antieau Home Page,http://www.kimantieau.com (December 7, 2007).
Punker Angel Baby's Blog,http://www.xanga.com/ (December 7, 2007), review of Mercy, Unbound.
Sarazarr.com,http://www.sarazarr.com/ (December 7, 2007), Sara Zarr, "Q&A with Kim Antieau."
Simon & Schuster Web site,http://www.simonsays.com/ (December 7. 2007), author biography.