Tuesday, June 24, 2008

One From Wendy

Church of The Dog by Kaya McLaren
I found myself wanting to highlight certain passages of Kaya McLaren's book, Church of the Dog. Don't let the title mislead you - there is a Church and there is a Dog but the book really isn't about either. The book is written in four voices. The main voice is that of Mara. Mara has just escaped a relationship and heads to a ranch in Oregon where she is "adopted" by an elderly couple.(Earl and Edith) Mara is an art teacher and is able to travel in dreams - sounds strange but in this book it works. Earl offers Mara a small cabin on the ranch and tells her to do whatever she wants with it. Mara begins her work on the cabin and Edith and Earl fall under Mara's spell. Edith finds herself doing things she never thought she would do at this stage of her life - dancing with Earl every night, making snow angels - naked, and laughing like all of the tragedy in her life is behind her. Earl also feels Mara's magic. Earl is ill and how he deals with is illness is an important part of this book. Earl and Edith have lost all of their children and desperately miss their beloved grandson, Daniel. Daniel returns to help with the ranch and he, too, is enchanted by Mara. What is Mara? A shaman? An angel? or just someone open and receptive to all of life? Daniel and Mara must each find their way - Mara knows no being passes through this life without making some impact - good or bad. Mara deals with Daniel and his messy emotions and wonders if she can make a difference. Mara and Daniel are brought together in a very unexpected way. Church of the Dog ends in a way that made me want more. I found the book to be one of those rare experiences where you really feel you know the characters and you want to know how they live the rest of their lives.

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