From the Contents I gather there are 5 parts to this book. They work like novellas with a few interwoven characters, Holly Sykes mostly – if there is a protagonist for the whole. The years progress from 1984 to 2043 – but all in Britain (basically).
** A Hot Spell –
Gravesend England – 1984
Holly Sykes – a rowdy, love-stricken 16-year old girl runs away from home, a pub, in Gravesend, England. Holly hears voices and starts having visions. One voice turned vision is that of Esther Little who serves her some green tea and wants asylum. (?) During her short sojourn she meets Heidi and Ian, political types who help her out but then a pale man comes along who wants something from her – where are they, etc. He intimidates her with violence and threats. This is a vision, hallucinations, a waking nightmare. She finds work in the fields and a friend who has a worse story than hers. Holly’s friend Ed Brubeck finds her and they go back to Gravesend – Her young brother Jacko is missing.
And then there’s Miss Immaculée Constantin –
** Myrrh Is Mine, Its Bitter Perfume – 1991
Kings College Choir boys with Hugo Lamb as a “posh boy,” a playboy college type who manages to meet a certain, very strange “Miss Constantin” in peculiar circumstances. Hugo is also somewhat sociopathic. He goes on holiday with his buddies, they get in trouble and he runs away. He meets Holly who works at the ski resort in Switzerland and they fall in love – reminds me of Jim Croce’s “If I Could Save Time in a Bottle” (1973). Then he meets more “celestials” (my word) – Holly’s friends.
Reminds me of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
** The Wedding Bash 2004 –
Holly is now married to Ed Brubeck, a war reporter and they have a small daughter, Aoife (ee-fa – Irish name – means beautiful and joyful). Attending a family wedding. Ed and Holly are not happy – he is away too much – he feels like he is skimming Aoife’s life rather than reading it properly. Holly fears the danger of war zones. Then Miss Constantin shows up and rubs Aoife’s temple and talks about internal eyes. – Ed knows something is wrong. Miss Constantin says an evil wizard closed Holly’s eye – did the “pale man” close Holly’s inner eye?
Ed’s problem is that he loves his job, possibly more than his family so when he’s offered another assignment in the same war-torn area, Holly tells him he has to choose. The war memories are very political.
Aoife gets lost but is found thanks to a “seizure” by Holly.
** Crispin Hershey’s Lonely Planet – 2015
An aging, curmudgeonly author rages at Richard Cheeseman, now a literary critic, who has dissed him in a column. Holly Sikes is in the audience at a reading – she’s now a published author – her memoir, “The Radio People,” is a top seller. But Hershey just keeps raging at everyone, ex-wife, life, money, etc. Hershey does a dastardly thing and feels a lot of guilt about it but is found out at the end. Hershey’s life deteriorates. At the end he is interrogated by a mysterious little person named Soleil Moore who had appeared at a Hershey reading earlier. She wants to know about Holly – what does he know? She says Hershey is “in the script.”
** An Horologist’s Labyrinth: 2025
(an horologist is a person who studies the science of time – Horology)
Oscar Gomez, a patient with a “Messiah Syndrome” and residing in a big Vancouver hospital, has vanished – the date is April 1, 2025. Maranis, a doctor of horology, gets a letter telling him about a woman named Esther Little, an eccentric philanthropist from Australia, and a group called the “Anchorites,”
Then Maranis (aka Wendy Hanger) gets a phone call and discusses many things including a Brazilian child (related to Hershey of the last chapter?) and the Anchorites which is “sourcing” and “decanting” something called the “Blind Cathar.” Blind Cathar – Catharism
“Marinus” locates Holly and Hershey and explains the situation including quite a lot about Esther Little, Miss Constantin and others. Apparently these folks are good-guy body-snatchers. (sigh) But there are other body-snatchers – the Anchorites, the bad-guys. Sometimes folks from the Anchorites defect – they have a “complex relationship with truth.”
“Consciences are for bone clocks.”
Transubstantiation? Omg! lol –
The war of the labyrinth is too weird for words.
** Sheep’s Head – 2043
Holly and grandchildren – Aoife is dead. Holly and kids are remembering the days when they had unlimited electricity – before the gigastorm. And there’s been a “net crash.” Holly is in her 70s. – reminiscences of life
THEME: Aoife told her kids things that Holly told her which Holly’s dad said to her – they live on inside each other.
Now really – nothing has led up to this kind of ending – it’s been extra-human warfare for souls (or bodies). As long as their are people to pass you on.
But I enjoyed the ending – the dystopian horror which life on earth has become and still there is hope for the future. The same folks appear – Marinus, etc. Save the grandchildren.
Fear of Music: http://www.thenational.ae/arts-lifestyle/the-review/time-and-again-the-critically-acclaimed-novelist-david-mitchell-on-life-death-and-everything-in-between#full
James Wood – http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/08/soul-cycle