Friday, April 9, 2021

Take a trip back in time, to the days when the Gods walked, and one woman held the memories of the tribe, and called on them to guide her clan during the good and bad times. The Choosing by Marta Moran Bishop

In a world where the Gods walk and their spirits commune with mankind, there must be those trained while in a trance to intercede with them, for the good of the tribe.

Mondoani, a young woman, is chosen by the Gods to take the place of the Old Mother upon her passing. Is this frail young woman strong enough to hold the spirits of the Gods when they descend?

For it will be her responsibility to hold the memories of all those who have lived before. These memories of the past are the keys to the survival of her people and she will need to find the strength of spirit and body to help protect and lead her people. For they must travel across the dead lands and snowy plains to a place they can safely spend the winter or die from starvation in a land devoid of rain.

But before she can accomplish that she must choose an apprentice from among the young girls and women, someone who can take her place should she fall.

Will Mondoani’s youth and inexperience condemn the tribe to death or will she rise above it and with the help of the magical world choose correctly?

The Choosing is a story with interesting mystical tones and a touch of the allegorical. It speaks to the harmony that must exist between people and the gods for the bounty on earth to be renewable. The passages that portray rituals used to honor the earth and its gifts were memorable to me.

Strength and vitality are prominent traits in the main character. Mondoani is no ordinary girl; she has been chosen by the gods to be the tribe's new Memory Keeper when their Old Mother dies. The Memory Keeper plays a most significant role in the tribe. She is the conduit who is entrusted to intercede with the gods for a tribe's survival: to ensure safe passage to the place where food, water and safety are assured. This task is daunting for Mondoani, fraught with fears that there will not be enough time for her to gain enough knowledge necessary to keep the tribe safe from famine and death. Mondoani, however, never wavers from tackling the immense responsibilities given her at such a young age. The author wove her words carefully, finding some balance in tone between Mondoani's worry and confidence, her fears and courage.

The last few chapters offer an unusual twist to the story. The ceremony to choose an apprentice for Mondoani was dramatic, with surprising revelations involving various gods intermingling with the tribe. If you enjoy allegorical stories, this one will appeal.

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