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An intricate feminist/New Age fantasy, set in the near future, throws an ordinary young woman into the center of a mythic drama: she is to be a postmodern Mary, immaculately conceiving a feminine savior who'll restore the spirit of a revolution gone sour. Jennifer Mazdan, preoccupied with her divorce, doesn't care much about Teller's Day in Poughkeepsie--Tellers are something like shamans, celebrity storytellers with the power to transport their listeners inside the very essence of the myths, or ""Pictures,"" they tell. Magical spiritual rites and sacrifices govern every detail of life in Jennifer's world, but the elite Tellers, who represent and interpret the will of the Founders (the mostly feminine gang of heroines who've sparked a great spiritual revolution) have become corrupt and empty of real spirit. Everywhere religion has become rote. Now, Jennifer is compelled to hear a certain Teller only because of the awful nagging pressure of the neighbors in her ""hive""--a sort of mystical Levittown. Inexplicably dropping into a deep sleep on the way, however, she has a strange dream, that somehow impregnates her. Although she tries to ignore her growing pregnancy, she gets more and more evidence that she's been picked by a supreme ""Agency"" to bear a child who will return her empty world to the days of great feminist spiritual heroines. As Jennifer tracks her husband through the streets of Manhattan, more auspicious events take place--an ice-cream vendor, for instance, tells her: ""there are only two things in the world. Suffering and ecstasy. Do you understand?"" Finally, exiled to an ugly apartment and attended by three midwives and the holy ice-cream man, Jennifer gives birth to the little girl who will bring down the empty Tellers. Widely imaginative and entertaining, but with a thousand loose threads. Despite the beguiling, often witty details, Pollack (The New Tarot--not reviewed) overloads the book.

Pub Date: May 29th, 1992
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Overlook--dist. by Viking