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Review: A terrible beauty is born

[A review of I Call Myself Earth Girl, A novel by Jan Krause Green]

By William T. Hathaway

I call myself earth girlShe’s 46. She just found out she’s three months pregnant. Her husband has been away, and she hasn’t had sex in six months. Who or what is the father? And how is she going to explain this to her husband? No wonder Gloria Geist is bewildered and frightened.

Could her pregnancy have anything to do with a recurrent nightmare she’s been having? Or is it not a dream but a past-life memory … or a telepathic communication? Whatever it is, it’s horrifying, a 12-year-old girl undergoing a devastating ordeal of war and rape.

The girl, Earth Girl, is pregnant from being savaged by a barbarian warrior. Gloria has the intuition that Earth Girl exists in another dimension and is using her as a surrogate mother to bear the child. But with a father like that, what sort of a child would it be? Would she bring the horror of her past with her? Or has she overcome it, gained spiritual power, and is now bringing a message of healing for our violent species and our abused planet?

Or could it be …?

The surprising answer emerges out of the twists and turns of a well-structured plot that leaves the characters, the world, and the reader much changed. In fact, these lines of William Butler Yeats sum up the book: “All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born.”

The novel blends ecology, mystic wisdom, and the many facets of family love into a satisfying whole. Jan Krause Green is very good at developing and resolving conflicts among her characters, and she has a gift for making the bizarre believable. I Call Myself Earth Girl is her first novel, but it begs for a sequel.

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