Beware your alter ego, especially if he is a treacherous incarnation from another place and time.
When I started this book, I was almost sure that I would not care for it, but I was wrong, wrong, wrong.
I enjoy character studies and this is one of the best and most entertaining I have read. This is one of those novels chock full of eccentric, offbeat (and I use the term advisedly) characters and xechers. It reminds me of a quote I just read from Sebastian Faulk about another novel:
“it is like being taken for a ride in a peculiar kind of car. Everything is of top quality – the engine, the coachwork and the interior all fill you with confidence.”
But then, after a mile or two the steering wheel starts to grow and shrink; the wind screen looks completely distorted, the driver is missing inexplicably for a few minutes from time to time.
Carol Lear starts her future life on a yoga mat “Being told by a barefoot girl to empty my mind. `Shavasana,’ she intoned as she passed me at a serene pace” (Savasana is, of course, the corpse pose.) So, she starts her journey to her future from her figurative death, unable to play her beloved Chopin and Rachmaninoff. Along the way she meets:Karli the spurned boyfriend; Jerry the gay roommate; Tom, Jerry’s friend; Eleanor an aspiring musician with a heavy hand, a lead foot, and one of Gene’s devotees, Aunt Jenny (who knows her only by reputation); Willa Barry the waif who plays the music of the spheres; Andreq and Ruhul (you’ll have to buy the book to find out about them);Anthony Moorish (reminiscent of another master of the Black Arts); Richard Longborrow, dapper crackpot psychic; medium-soothesayers(sic) cum kidnappers; Isabel the mercenary; P.I. Neen who has an unexpected employer, and Gene – Gene Winter, the cruelest most manipulative hypnotherapist she could have conjured up.
“Performing can be a full, rich life. But I hadn’t had a life. All I had was a six-foot wooden box. I’d locked my future into it as a child, deferring the rich, full life to some indefinite date. Like Andreq, I have to let it go.” Get it? six-foot wooden box? Perfect for a very long savasana.
And her journey to the future almost ends like this:
“Small plastic things nudge against my arm like feeding fish. My tapes. Loose tape curls around my hands. Or is it seaweed. Andreq, come to say goodbye. Until next time?”
Honestly, this book prompted me to go to a hypnotherapist, just to see if the American protocol is anything like the zany British ones (it wasn’t – but was equivalent in “hokiness.”)
By all means, buy and read it straightaway, but skip the hypnotherapist – he’ll take your money and your tapes and leave you xeching with Andreq.