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This review is from: Away With The Fairies (Kindle Edition)
This is the story of Isabel. A painter who wants time away from the manifold pressures of minding young children and being the unpaid assistant to her husband who is a vicar. She is also more disturbed than she acknowledges by the suicide of both her parents. She has no beliefs in an afterlife. The family buys Barrow Cottage which has a prehistoric burial mound, or barrow, in the garden. There is a continuing series of unexplained events which she tries to rationalise. Isabel spends time to be alone there to paint.The quality of her work changes dramatically but she she is not consciously planning the outcome. The strange events continue and she begins to breakdown.
There is part of the story which deals with Maggie, a local woman artist who has a chaotic and alternative lifestyle but there are no redeeming qualities and while she may have a symbolic part to play in the story, I found her a little two dimensional.
Guy, the disabled flautist, provides a new direction to her thinking and the breakdown becomes a breakthrough. He says, more or less, what I would have hoped someone would have said to Isabel in terms of background information. I am not so convinced about his concept of soul fragments but don't dismiss it.
Isabel was denying the fact of death and change and needed to withdraw into her self to make connections with those streams of consciousness which lie within and beyond our separate individualities. There is little growth until we embrace the negative (so-called) parts of our soul. She was prompted by the psychic forces or beings which inhabited the cottage.
Her clergyman husband had no idea what they were dealing with which, sadly, seems true of most, not all, of the modern churches. 'Yesterday's People is a short book by an Anglican clergyman who did work with mediums. In contrast, a recent Radio 4 discussion on the afterlife had three academics, two Christian, one Muslim, to discuss the subject. No medium, Transpersonal psychologist or psychic researcher. Is this the lingering dominance of organised religion to determine the terms of the debate? Or that right brain, intuitive, dare I say, feminine thinking, is marginalised by mainstream culture, to our detriment?
Guy was able to come to terms with his accident and loss when he began to forgive; so the church still gets that right.
I feel the author has managed to delve deeply into the ground of our being within a simple story structure and present an uplifting outcome which is credible and solidly grounded in the real world. It is said that a therapist can only take clients to the level they have reached themselves-which, as a therapist, cause me some self doubt but I find if I surrender to the process, it seems to work out. I suspect the same is true for writers and their works. The themes of self discovery and reconciliation are timeless but I did find myself wondering how far the novel was autobiographical and not just because she is the wife of a vicar.