I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Have you ever had the feeling that you've lived another life? Been somewhere that has felt totally familiar even when you've never been there before, or felt that you've known someone even though you are meeting them for the first time? In a novel comprising seven short stories each of them influenced by a moon - flower moon, harvest moon, hunter's moon, blood moon - and travelling from 2073 back in time to the dark of the moon and the days of Viking saga, this is the story of Eric and Merle who have loved and lost one another and who have been searching for each other ever since. In the different stories the two appear as lovers, mother and son, brother and sister, artist and child as they come close to finding each other before facing the ultimate sacrifice.
This was one of my choices for book club this year, during our “Year of Reading Fluff.” Unfortunately, I was out of the country when the book was discussed and I just got around to reading it last night. I enjoyed the structure of the book, it being essentially seven short stories which weave together to provide the whole tale.
I liked the otherworldly feel of the book, beginning, as it does, in the far future. I hadn’t re-read the blurb on the dust jacket and hadn’t recently read reviews on the work, as I prefer to go in blind and discover what a book is all about. I was glad that I took that approach, as it allowed me to gradually piece together what was going on, as I think the author intended the reader to do. I know that I did re-assess at the beginning of the second chapter/story, going back to read the previous chapter heading and to get my bearings. The reincarnation aspect reminded me strongly of H. Rider Haggard’s She, a treasured book of my childhood [I think I was the only one to sign it out of our school’s library and I signed it out so many times that when it was withdrawn, the librarian offered it to me. I accepted]. Add to that some archaeology and a Viking story line, and this book was right up my alley. As a teen or young adult, I would have been smitten. And it took me until the next morning to realize the significance of the first protagonist’s name, Eric Seven.
There is, necessarily, at least one death in each chapter, sometimes bloody—but it’s rather necessary if reincarnation is to take place. If you are squeamish about that sort of thing, this is not your book.