An ordinary young woman meets a stranger and undergoes an extraordinary inner awakening.
A woman named Caroline, working as a financial analyst for an auditing firm in Atlanta, feels pointlessly stuck in her life in this fiction debut. She’s bored in her personal life and unhappy with her job, but as the story opens, she sees little prospect for change. But transformation comes in the shape of a training conference in San Francisco; when her boss can’t attend, he sends her. While in San Francisco, she encounters a street performer named Tuan, a handsome, bright-eyed man who wastes no time in telling her she has an “old soul”—almost 6 billion years old, to be exact. He informs her that she’s actually far more than human; she’s an original inhabitant of the fifth dimension only visiting Earth and enduring normal life in the third dimension. He is from the Pleiades and is willing to help her remember her suppressed past-life experiences. She’s naturally skeptical, but when he reveals personal knowledge about her, things she’s never confided to anybody else (about her complicated feelings about her father’s abandonment of their family, among other things), she’s forced to consider the possibility that he’s telling the truth. In the worldview he expounds to her, she’s living in a series of concentric inner walls, beyond which is her “God self”—and her true nature. As Tuan continues to expound on the real, hidden shape of reality and Caroline’s own inner self, the author skillfully develops the bantering, energetic relationship between the two characters—it’s by far the most interesting element in this somewhat overly talky novel, more involving than the resolution of Caroline’s feelings for her father or a subplot about the marital problems of her best friend. The sprawling worldview slowly explained by Tuan is complicated and well-constructed, and Beyatli’s ear for dialogue keeps the exchanges between human seeker and extraterrestrial wise man from feeling flat or programmatic.
An enthralling, if somewhat static, novel about a woman’s sudden inner awareness of a much bigger and stranger cosmos than she’d ever imagined.