Friday, May 22, 2020

Appalachian Book of the Dead by Dale Neal

The ancient Tibetan Buddhist text and the ancient mountains of Appalachia and their denizens turn out to be a surprisingly good pairing. In Neal's thoughtful work, the past and present intertwine, just as selections from the Book of the Dead intermingle with the cunningly plotted story. 

A trader from Chicago and his third wife, with ghosts of their own, come to a remote mountain cove in search of healing.  A young woman, mourning the loss of a lover, moves in nearby. The cove, once home to a failed summer camp, has one long time resident, the camp's feckess handyman. These four challenge and trouble one another as they deal with the threat of an escaped killer, ghost memories and memories of ghosts, as well as an iconic coyote, all of whom haunt their daily lives.

Beautifully written, the book is a tribute to the Appalachian mountains that draw so many seekers. It is also a profound meditation on reality: "Remember these images emerge from your own mind. Do not fear them. Simply acknowledge your demons, accept your fears, and offer a bow of gratitude.

1 comment:

Barbara Rogers said...

Oh yes yes yes...I can't wait to read this one!