TRANSCENDENCE  by Johanna Kristin  Ellerup


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After her murder, a woman reaches out from another dimension to find a good home for her pets in this debut novel.

An intuitive pharmacist discovers discrepancies at her place of work: the ordering of too many narcotics and the moving of money deceptively. Her corporate bosses are being strong-armed by a cartel, which does not care for her meddling and stages a fatal car crash to get rid of her. Untethered from her corporeal body, the pharmacist is transported to an ethereal dimension of glowing orbs and vibrations, able to read the minds and influence the actions of the living. Her immediate concern is to transfer her orphaned special needs dogs—Penny, Wilbur, Chance, and Jake—and her sometimes-intractable parrot to the home of an elderly woman, an ex–political activist, who needs the companionship as much as the animals. To effect this change, the pharmacist brings closer together a green-haired veterinarian tech and a shelter van driver, who aid the pets. The pair also helps a middle-aged racist confront the abuse that feeds his bigotry. But when the old woman dies, the pharmacist finds she is not done with the living world, as she takes over the body of her pets’ new caretaker at the cost of her powers. Ellerup’s novel is as intangible as the other dimension its protagonist finds herself in. Characters aren’t given names save for the dogs; by the book’s own admission, this is to provide an “immersive experience of using your imagination and personal experience.” This puts the impetus on readers to fill in the blanks, with characters reduced to physical traits or their jobs and settings left vague. Some personality can be gleaned from the tale’s dialogue, which, despite grappling with metaphysical ideas, is natural and affable. The nature of the other dimension and the powers it grants is left largely abstract save for a post hoc lay summary on the theories of physicist Lisa Randall, dark matter, and parallel universes, coming to rest on electromagnetism as the driving force behind the story’s astral projection and precognition. The interpersonal relationships and friendships this mysticism or extrasensory perception facilitates are warm and welcoming even if there’s no solid ground for readers underneath it.

A vague supernatural tale hidden in ruminations on psychic photons.

Pub Date: July 29th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-79230-560-3
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Self
Program: Kirkus Indie
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