I barely remember this novel that I think I started to read as a child and would like to maybe pick up again.

What I remember is this:

  • A young man (or boy?) meets a man (possibly a relative or neighbor?) who tries to teach him psychic powers or magic.
  • The teaching centers primarily around the use of small physical "talismans"

There was a scene I remember which involved the protagonist taking a long bath and meditating upon a talisman in the bath. He described what I remember as cones coming out of the walls and the ceiling.

  • I believe that the principal characters were white - this may be because I am, and simply be incorrect.
  • I believe that the protagonist was perhaps twelve years old or so.
  • My recollection is that the talismans themselves were solid brass, and perhaps the size and shape of a dreidel without the handle.
  • I believe that the talismans were kept together in a wooden case lined with velvet.
  • I read the novel (or started to) in 1985. At the time, it was in paperback.

The scene I describe above stuck with me because it made me so very uncomfortable. I do not know whether this was the author's intent, but as a young boy at the time I felt very, very uncomfortable with the idea that someone like me might be invited to get naked at some other adult's house in order to take a bath and practice meditation.

I do not remember anything about any of the conflicts in the story - literally all I can remember about the story is how uncomfortable it made me feel because of that one scene. I think that scene might be why I never finished it.

  • 1
    This is a nice description but barring the specific scene I feel like it has potential to match quite a few works. Could you edit this to include anything else at all you may remember? This guide has some helpful tips if you need some starting points. – TheLethalCarrot Nov 20 '19 at 16:56
  • Thanks so much for the link - I'll try to think of anything else I can remember, as well. – James S. Nov 20 '19 at 16:57

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