Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Way by Kristen Wolf

The Way. Kristen Wolf. Crown Publishing Group. July 2011. 368 Pages. ISBN #: 9780307717696.

The Earth is the Mother's and all that flows from there. Staying one with the Mother through meditation and respect for creation yields right relationships and blessings in the fruits of creation. These are some of the fundamental beliefs that the followers of the Way have followed for centuries, but now it is women who live these beliefs as the religion of men has grown in order to justify male domination. The latter is now determined to eradicate the Way and all of its followers by whatever means possible.

This is the world into which Anna is born. Her mother may have been a follower but is weakened by a domineering, abusive husband. After her mother bears a stillborn child and then dies herself, Anna's father sells her to traveling shepherds, but not before a wise woman protects Anna from worse.  A mysterious necklace is all Anna has to remind her of a sacred, healing power existing somewhere in the world. Anna, one realizes is a girl but has the facial features of a boy for which she is despised and feared as an emanation of something evil.

After she has learned the work of shepherding, she hears more of this Way briefly but is more preoccupied with the male role she is constantly living and making friends with the leader and another man, Peter, who has secret feelings for this young boy now known as Jesus. The story gradually changes to the point where Jesus is sent on a mission to get supplies and comes upon those women living in a cave in the secret area known as "The Narrows." Here Jesus' real identity is uncovered and she gradually becomes trusted enough to learn of the Way and the troubles that threaten its very existence.

Jesus begins to travel and the story unravels to the point where events occur that defy most readers' expectations on their own religious upbringing and education. Surprises and agonizing attacks and more loom on every page.

The Way is quite simply an astonishing story that is both credible and incredible. It stretches the imagination, one's doubts, wonder, beliefs over and over again, leaving one with questions and answers galore! Fascinating fiction!

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