To Hear The Rest More Clearly
By Anne Victoria Pyterek
Genre: Literary Fiction, Magical Realism
Calliope Braintree has a lot working against her, but the forces of Nature and Love conspire to make her an instrument in the liberation of her fellow humans and the Wildness they have suppressed and perverted.
Aided by the Muse of Epic Poetry, an urban coyote, and the Chicago River, Calliope saves herself from the ravages of abuse, self-loathing and sexual humiliation. It’s not easy for her to remember the plan she and Muse had made for this life, but memories do come, in confusing fits and starts. A homeless orphan, sure of nothing but her urge to write, she ignores the mind-numbing conventions of civilized society, preferring to listen to her Muse. She follows Coyote, who leads her away from the degrading and harsh brutality of her life, into a haven of safety. Calliope goes to live in a hidden pocket of Wildness alive in the city. Still in the world, she is no longer of it, and she’s glad.
River is a powerful entity, her world a parallel reality existing in the cracks of civilization’s façade. And, polluted and tormented as she is, River is still able to transform the toxins polluting Calliope’s mind, absorbing what is hideous and making it holy. This process climaxes in a Trickster-ized version of Revelations, after which Calliope’s life will never be the same again.
This book is deep & complex and needs every bit of your attention while reading it. If you aren’t prepared to fall into the raw and unusual world of Calliope then you might not be ready for this one. I was ready and so glad to have experienced this trip.
The author flips us between worlds, sometimes in nature with the coyotes and other times we are with humans who are less than desirable. This is Calliope's journey though, not ours. We are merely just voyeurs as Calliope suffers, but soon blossoms from the pain. We watch as she finds her voice, first small and then booming. It’s a tale of transformation and perseverance.
This story contains sexual trauma that may be triggering, please read with care.
Anne Victoria Pyterek is as much the product of her protagonist, Calliope Braintree, as she is her producer. For in the ten year process of bringing Calliope into being, she ended up completely re-writing the story of her own life.
Very much a daughter of Daniel Burnham, Anne left the City of Big Shoulders—at Calliope’s request—driving off into the sunset in a big blue bus with her then 11 year old son, a managerie of animals and no income. She did this for the adventure, the learning and to find out about Calliope’s childhood. She and her son live in Colorado now, still in the bus, on 120 acres with a pack of semi-feral dogs, surrounded by coyotes.
Author Blog: Anne of Blue Bus Books (http://blue-bus-books.com/)