"the nature of humanity is explored in a multi-faceted story"
At first, you'd think it was a love story; the man,
George, meets the beautiful girl, Clara, in a cafe, while
he's on a trip back to his old hometown. They hit it off
Then it seems to be a ghost story, as George and
Clara are revealed to be spirits, their souls united, not
by passion, but by mystery. A mystery that, in its
separate ways, has haunted each of them: Clara with a
desire to know the truth of her death, an event no spirit
can ever know, while George's almost equally intense
desire to remain ignorant of that very same truth nearly
overwhelms his own curiosity. It is Clara's drive to
knowledge that propels the story, clinging to George for
her precious, fading humanity, even as she coldly, almost
ruthlessly, uses the living and dispatches of the dead who
get in her way. But if Clara is the spirit of the book,
George is its body, his own desire for peace leading him
away from Clara to an exploration of the world he now
inhabits, especially those who inhabit it with him.
For the true focus of the book is an examination,
remarkably tender and often ironic, of the nature of
humanity once the tedious business of living is removed.
The burdens of life are great, and it is no surprise that
the living fare poorly in this world. Yet the confusions
and choices of life live on, and the realm of the dead is
populated by those who are not free of them, those who are
not ready, or occasionally not willing, to cross the
meadow into whatever--heaven, nirvana, or perhaps oblivion-
-may lie beyond. George moves with them and among them,
torn between his past and his present until a chance
encounter clarifies his mind and he does what he must.
So, if the question is, is CROSSING THE MEADOW a
love story, an occult mystery, or a deeply human study of
living and being, my answer is: Yes.
REVIEWED FOR PNR BY Marc VunKannon © Copyright 2003
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted January 7, 2004