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Victorian Songlight: The Birthings of Magic & Mystery

Want to go on a trip?

This one will take you places you don’t expect to go, some of them imaginary (maybe) some of them real (but unusual), and others ordinary (but experienced in an unusual way).

Martone’s book is probably at least a bit autobiographical, as the author, and the main character share a similar name (the protagonist is Kate), both are Jungian therapists, lived in Colorado, and now live in Arkansas, have red hair and an interest in shamanic journeys.

The book unfolds almost like a lucid dream. In one moment the reader is grounded in the day to day details of preparing a meal, dressing to visit with friends, snuggling with lovable kitties in an elegant Victorian home, or painting in a studio in a small town in Arkansas. The next you are in a conversation with a giant man in white robes with glowing golden eyes who rides on Pegasus and loves our heroine on seemingly all levels at once: a father, a grandfather, a lover, a friend, and adviser.

Kate has come to live in a quaint 1800s small town in Arkansas following a failed relationship in Colorado. She is looking to reinvent her life through her interest in dreams, her artwork, her friends, and even a trek to Tibet that has her hiking through dangerous mountains, and experiencing a ceremonial rebirth accomplished via the circling of one sacred mountain.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Kate is experiencing doors shutting in her face: friends dis-connecting, her art, once popular, no longer selling, her dream workgroup has ejected her. As we travel with her through her ups and downs, her attempts to make sense of her life loves, losses, and choices we also begin to understand that Kate’s family history is far from happy, and through both her experiences and the gentle prodding of her – possibly imaginary – friend, “Grandfather,” we begin to understand what has brought Kate to her present state, and what she will need to do to find her way back out of the dream.

The book reads comfortably, like a conversation that, if sometimes painful, is told with the detailed confidences of a good friend sharing both the mundane and the most dramatic moments of her life as she sorts them out with us, and at the same time shares her methods of coping with, and investigating a complex inner life.

Nancy Roberts
Writer, voice over artist, information achitect, very curious person.