Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Well in Time: A Novel by Suzan Still

Well in Time: A Novel.  Suzan Still. The Story Plant.  January 2015. 400 pp. paperback and e-book. ISBN #: 9781611881844.

Javier Cartena and Calypso Searcy have returned in this sequel to Feast of Smoke and are again deliberately and inadvertently spun into a cycle of violence and divine intervention that keeps spinning and spinning and spinning.  Javier and Calypso, as well as their good friend Hill who is an investigative journalist, are as deeply in love as ever.  But they are not to have any piece due to the prevailing drug cartels thriving in Mexico, one of whom will attack Javier’s ranch.  Javier will stay behind to defend his home and Calypso is about to begin a journey that involves crawling through tube-like caves barely fitting any human being.

In the process of this fantastic journey, stories within stories will be told, like a Russian Matryoshka nesting doll, revealing layers and layers of mystery, myth, legend, all emanating the sacred.  The tales involve communities worshiping the Great Mother, Isis, also known as Mary in Christian circles.  They involve the marriage of Egyptian gods and goddesses and the enmity arising in their children, the efforts of some to squelch the worship of these divine beings in medieval Europe, and so much more. The journey also involves Calypso being saved and threatened by a group known as “The Ghosts,” criminals who are reformed but who use a dangerous drug to get information from those who would eliminate them. All of these stories and events will culminate with a gift to Calypso that is approximately 4,000 years old, a gift bequeathed by the descendant of the Great Mother herself, a piece of jewelry that only a woman can wear and which gifts the wearer with dreams of the future or occurrences in the present in different places.

Well in Time reminded this reviewer of the magical realism novels of great writers like Gabriela Garcia Marquez, Mario Vargas Llosa and Isabella Allende, weaving the sacred and the profane; past, present and future; love and hate, the beauty and the ugly within and without nature and so much more.  Suzan Still is more than a novelist; she’s a literary giant with a gift for beautiful prose, brilliant plotting and revealing characterization that enhances every page of this phenomenally constructed novel.  Kudos to you, Suzan Still – and please, please, please keep writing!

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