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In his hallucinatory novel Veronica, poet and New Yorker contributor Nicholas Christopher synthesizes Tibetan mysticism, an Elizabethan secret society, and all-American sleight of hand. As in Nick Bantock’s Griffin & Sabine, every encounter between Christopher’s narrator and a bewitching young woman named Veronica only deepens the story’s mystery. Gradually the narrator comes to understand that Veronica’s father, a famous conjurer, has been trapped midtime-travel by a rival magician, and is concentrating his powers on returning to the present day. The tale is fortunately not as David Copperfieldian as might be expected, but it does require a willing participant. Christopher reads at 7:30 p.m. at Borders, 5871 Crossroads Center Way, Bailey’s Crossroads. FREE. (703) 998-0404; and at 7 p.m. Thursday at Chapters, 1512 K St. NW. FREE. (202) 347-5495. CP