HERE AND THERE by Karen Dalin


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In this spirituality focused fiction, Rachel Levinson, killed in a car accident, initially isolates herself, then learns with the help of a little girl about the karmic cycle of life.

After arriving Here, Rachel asks for a home in an area without children due to the grief and rage she feels having lost her daughter, Carolyn, and husband, Rick, as well as the potential joys of grandparenthood. Eventually, when she longs to hear children’s voices again, the “powers-that-be” have children walk by her window. It is soon revealed that Rachel was killed in a car accident, the result of her distraction and anger over Rick’s not heeding her psychic warning that the plane he was to use for a business trip would crash. Ironically, Rachel’s death meant Rick avoided that trip, and someone else also spotted and corrected the plane’s malfunction. Rachel has one living child, Carolyn, but a son died soon after birth. With the help of Betty, a woman who encourages her to attend Here support events, and, more significantly, with the help of a young girl called Hattie, Rachel comes to realize that she has sought too much control in life and should be more tolerant about how the universe unfolds. She gets visits from others in Here—deceased relatives, a childhood lesbian friend, a beloved pet cat—and learns about their other lives and connections to her throughout her life. By story’s end, another recent Here arrival is reborn into the There world to Carolyn. Rick, who can see beyond There, is pleased to spot Rachel in the room with the family at the child’s birth. Debut novelist Dalin’s slim yet powerful tale offers a joyous worldview and effective depictions of Here and There to dramatize a never-ending circle of life. Discussion of characters’ reincarnations can get dizzying at times, and Rachel’s relationship with Rick, even in her journal entries, remains a bit murky. Overall, however, Dalin provides a positive, hopeful message and plenty of food for spiritual thought.

Charming, uplifting tale about immortality and interconnectedness in the universe.

Pub Date: April 25th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1457519864
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2015


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