Author: Kay Goldstein
Publisher: Vineyard Stories
$16.95 in Hardcover
ISBN number 9780984913619
If you haven’t heard about this amazing new book yet, it is my privilege to introduce you.
Two weeks ago I met with Jan Pogue, publisher of Vineyard Stories on a picnic table outside the Scottish Bakehouse. Jan handed me a copy of Star Child.
Jan Pogue founded the press in 2005 and works from her offices in a 9x9-foot tree house in Edgartown. Although she is currently considering three books of fiction, Star Child is her first fiction book since republishing two out-of-print mysteries by Cynthia Riggs, Double Murder on Martha's Vineyard in 2007. Jan publishes one or two children's books a year, and cook books do very well for her. This book is targeted at young adults and adults with spiritual leanings.
As I held the book in my hands, I have to admit I was skeptical. Yes, it was beautifully made in every detail from the gorgeous cover, to the black-and-white graphics adorning each section, the graceful font and the highest-quality paper. A fable for young adults and grownups like The Alchemist or The Little Prince…?
My usual reading matter is hardboiled detective fiction. You know, guns and sexy dames, and all the gory, suspenseful rest of it.
Yet when I opened the cover and turned the first few pages, I came across this passage in the beginning of the book:
She stood in the waving green meadow and took it all in: the stalks of grass moving in the curved palm of the wind; the gentle hum of a wayward bee easing first away, then closer to touch her; the amber of the sun’s bright globe painting her face and arms; the taste of lavender in the air slipping past her lips and melting on her tongue. And she felt such joy that every part of her being filled up, and being filled, welled over as tears.
I will admit I was hooked right then and there. Such skillful writing and such grace of expression suggested to me that here was an author fully in command of her gifts and on the beat of a captivating story.
After reading the first few sections of Star Child, I posted the following on Facebook:
“I am reading a book called Star Child by Kay Goldstein and recently published by Jan Pogue's Vineyard Stories press. When I finish reading it I will review it on Patch MV. I don't want it to end. Star Child captured my heart and mind from its first pages with a wondrous fable told with exquisite language, with gentle restraint, with love in its voice. This book is a gift of such generosity I scarcely know where to begin to praise it or how to thank its author for sharing her vision or its publisher for bringing it to bookstores.”
Now, having finished the book, I am happy to share it with you.
Star Child is a novella written in twelve sections, each titled: Heaven, Earth, Sea, Seasons, Mountain, Awakening, Hope, Faith, Joy, Fire, Surrender, and Epilogue. The first section, Heaven, tells of how Terra (and Marius we soon find out) came to the blue planet. Earth is Terra’s story, Sea is Marius’ story (and where he and Terra first meet) and Seasons brings the story of the Old Couple, who took in Terra and nurtured her, to a close. Mountain is Terra’s journey to meet the Ancient Mother; Awakening is about Marius making a similar spiritual connection with The Baker.
All of us in life make compromises with the world in order to survive that may entail our giving up, or being less of, who we feel we truly are. Star Child is about each one of us, spiritual beings on a human path, as Kay Goldstein terms it, reconnecting with that lost essence of our inner selves. Terra and Marius struggle with this same spiritual journey, as both of them have left behind their native selves in order to survive on this blue planet. In the second half of Star Child, Terra and Marius seek to reconnect not only with themselves, but with each other.
This is a very skillfully written book with carefully planned structure and a progression of events and challenges to convey the spiritual journey of the inner self. The first half, which I have outlined above, sets up this unfolding of the return to the essence of self for both Terra and Marius. Throughout the story, their interaction with the supporting cast of characters -- The Old Couple, The Loon, The Dolphins, The Fishermen, Nicky, The Ancient Mother, The Baker – bring human challenges into focus as Terra and Marius come to terms with their lives. The second half of Star Child deepens the meaning of the story, as well as the reader’s feelings for these characters. Now that I have set the stage, I will leave the mystery of Star Child’s resolution to your own reading pleasure. I cannot tell you how right the ending feels to me, and I think you will share in that experience.
With sensual detail that is at the same time very spiritual in feeling, Kay Goldstein has created a world of wonder, familiar enough, but fabulous in its simple beauty. She invites the reader to enter this world and stay a while with Terra and Marius and become, like them, a Star Child.
It is such a fully-imagined place, yet so roomy and open-feeling that we can imagine ourselves being in it. We can wander around in it a while, creating our own details, re-creating our own stories and myths and memories, each one and all of us discovering our own ways to regain that lost essence of our inner selves, our Star Child within.
I recommend this book.
Or, if you’re on island, you can drop by the Bunch of Grapes in Vineyard Haven and pick up your copy at a special book signing there on Saturday, August 11 from 10-11:30 am.
Another great opportunity: Nancy Aronie and Jan Pogue’s Vineyard Stories invite you to a book signing with Kay Goldstein on Tuesday August 14 from 4:30-7 pm. at 8 Wauwompauuhque Trail, Chilmark (1st left off North Abel's Hill Rd.). Refreshments will be served. Proceeds from the sale of Star Child will benefit both the Chilmark Pond Association and a scholarship fund for the Chilmark Writing Workshop.
Kay Goldstein is a cook, writer, and teacher of meditation. She is the co-author of A Book of Feasts, Stories and Recipes from American Celebrations, and has been a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and her own blog at www.kaygoldstein.com. Kay is married to Buck Goldstein, and they have two children, Katherine and Max. She divides her time between Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.