Well-constructed entry in the New Age/inspirational genre; check your cynicism at the lintel.

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EYES IN THE MIRROR

EVERYTHING CHANGED WHEN HE MET HIS SOUL

An architect at an agonizing crossroads in life finds himself comatose and surrounded by spirit entities who enlighten him about God, the universe, and his own hardships. 

The debut novel by architect-turned-author Moore is a mystic-inspirational piece laden with autobiographical detail in the same vein as works by Dan Millman and Richard Bach. Narrator Zach Morgan is a middle-aged architect who has built a career and home life; he has congenitally malformed hands and has endured other personal travails. Now he and his pregnant wife, Sam, learn their child is developing with severe abnormalities in utero. With an agonizing choice of whether to terminate the baby, Zach accidentally falls—or not; it seems nothing is really “accidental” in the universe—and hits his head. He finds himself in “The Swing Between Worlds,” a place where he meets and discourses with spiritual entities who secretly guide all humanity (itself a divine experiment in Free Will) toward oneness. Domini, a sort of guardian-angel figure wrought out of Zach’s own soul, is the principle interlocutor, explaining how, as Zach vividly flashes back on all his joys and heartaches in various galleries, even the cruelest circumstances in his life were deliberately engineered boons steering him toward enlightenment. The protagonist doesn’t often take this Panglossian cosmology well since he relives childhood sexual molestation, a harshly authoritarian and unsupportive father, and overcoming his disability. Even readers who resist New Age stuff can take the passages of growing up as a well-described memoir of pain and triumph in the Tobias Wolff mold even as it bounds ahead in the final chapters into a fantastically distant future utopian America on “New Earth,” where humans have finally embraced inner godliness (and really good architecture). Readers expecting a stronger resolution on the abortion question (especially one in accord with Christian thinking) may be in for a surprise by the author’s take on the issue. The book includes a suggested reading list that cites such self-help/New Age stalwarts as Paramahansa Yogananda, Neale Donald Walsch, Carlos Castaneda, and Eckhart Tolle. 

Well-constructed entry in the New Age/inspirational genre; check your cynicism at the lintel.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5320-3691-0

Page Count: 282

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2018

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A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

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SHAKESPEARE FOR SQUIRRELS

Manic parodist Moore, fresh off a season in 1947 San Francisco (Noir, 2018), returns with a rare gift for Shakespeare fans who think A Midsummer Night’s Dream would be perfect if only it were a little more madcap.

Cast adrift by pirates together with his apprentice, halfwit giant Drool, and Jeff, his barely less intelligent monkey, Pocket of Dog Snogging upon Ouze, jester to the late King Lear, washes ashore in Shakespeare’s Athens, where Cobweb, a squirrel by day and fairy by night, takes him under her wing and other parts. Soon after he encounters Robin Goodfellow (the Puck), jester to shadow king Oberon, and Nick Bottom and the other clueless mechanicals rehearsing Pyramus and Thisby in a nearby forest before they present it in celebration of the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the captive Amazon queen who’s captured his heart, Pocket (The Serpent of Venice, 2014, etc.) finds Robin fatally shot by an arrow. Suspected briefly of the murder himself, he’s commissioned, first by Hippolyta, then by the unwitting Theseus, to identify the Puck’s killer. Oh, and Egeus, the Duke’s steward, wants him to find and execute Lysander, who’s run off with Egeus’ daughter, Hermia, instead of marrying Helena, who’s in love with Demetrius. As English majors can attest, a remarkable amount of this madness can already be found in Shakespeare’s play. Moore’s contribution is to amp up the couplings, bawdy language, violence, and metatextual analogies between the royals, the fairies, the mechanicals, his own interloping hero, and any number of other plays by the Bard.

A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-243402-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Fierce, poetic, uncompromising.

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THE CITY WE BECAME

This extremely urban fantasy, a love/hate song to and rallying cry for the author’s home of New York, expands her story “The City, Born Great” (from How Long ’Til Black Future Month, 2018).

When a great city reaches the point when it's ready to come to life, it chooses a human avatar, who guides the city through its birthing and contends with an extradimensional Enemy who seeks to strike at this vulnerable moment. Now, it is New York City’s time to be born, but its avatar is too weakened by the battle to complete the process. So each of the individual boroughs instantiates its own avatar to continue the fight. Manhattan is a multiracial grad student new to the city with a secret violent past that he can no longer quite remember; Brooklyn is an African American rap star–turned–lawyer and city councilwoman; Queens is an Indian math whiz here on a visa; the Bronx is a tough Lenape woman who runs a nonprofit art center; and Staten Island is a frightened and insular Irish American woman who wants nothing to do with the other four. Can these boroughs successfully awaken and heal their primary avatar and repel the invading white tentacles of the Enemy? The novel is a bold calling out of the racial tensions dividing not only New York City, but the U.S. as a whole; it underscores that people of color are an integral part of the city’s tapestry even if some white people prefer to treat them as interlopers. It's no accident that the only white avatar is the racist woman representing Staten Island, nor that the Enemy appears as a Woman in White who employs the forces of racism and gentrification in her invasion; her true self is openly inspired by the tropes of the xenophobic author H.P. Lovecraft. Although the story is a fantasy, many aspects of the plot draw on contemporary incidents. In the real world, white people don’t need a nudge from an eldritch abomination to call down a violent police reaction on people of color innocently conducting their daily lives, and just as in the book, third parties are fraudulently transferring property deeds from African American homeowners in Brooklyn, and gentrification forces out the people who made the neighborhood attractive in the first place. In the face of these behaviors, whataboutism, #BothSides, and #NotAllWhitePeople are feeble arguments.

Fierce, poetic, uncompromising.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-50984-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Orbit

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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