Saturday, December 10, 2011

New before/after: "One Insular Tahiti"

Today's book is Thea Atkinson's "One Insular Tahiti." This is a non-linear novel, and that made it a little harder to get  a handle on it. Here's what Thea and I did.

Luke's death has come the way he always feared it would: in the claustrophobic, underground heat of a Cape Breton coal mine. He had suspected it would end this way, had embraced it even, so while his body is buried, his soul settles into a watery existence of endless waiting.

Soon, something changes in his personal purgatory; all is not quiet the way it was when he first realized he was dead. Now a wind howls and storm seas bring waves of half remembered events from his past life that are so terrible he will do anything to avoid reliving them: images of war and abuse and of a favored brother spoiled by disease.

He needs to find a way out.

This is when he notices Astrid, a newborn fighting for her life. She isn't supposed to survive her birth, but if he can just will her to be his mother, he can save her and escape the anguish of this terrible supposed insular Tahiti.

Too late, Luke realizes that the connection that binds him to Astrid is the same inevitable battle of memories he left his purgatory to forget. Now he must endure the replay of horrific images that will ultimately change his soul and Astrid's forever.

One Insular Tahiti is a nonlinear tale of one soul's search for redemption and the lengths the human spirit will go to find peace.

Luke MacIsaac is dead, and not restfully dead. He'd always expected he'd die in the claustrophobic, underground heat of a Cape Breton coal mine. He'd even embraced it as his soul settled into a watery existence of endless waiting.

But in short order the placid waters of his afterlife turn to rolling seas of time and memory as his violent past plays out again for him. Images of war, childhood abuse, and the tortured life of a brother he loved and failed inundate him. More than anything, he wants to escape.

In his confusion and pain, he senses a kindred spirit in Astrid, a newborn struggling to stay alive. Luke helps her in hopes she may one day be the one who brings him out of his purgatory and into a new incarnation. He discovers too late that Astrid's soul is linked to his hellish past life. Now he must experience all the anguish they went through together, and watch helplessly as Astrid goes through sorrows of her own, before the two of them can finally meet in this world and find peace together.

By the way, I didn't know what "insular Tahiti" meant. It's a reference to Moby Dick:

"For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half known life. God keep thee! Push not off from that isle, thou canst never return!"

The more you know. :)

Want me to help with your blurb? I can do that.


  1. thanls for all your help. I think the blurb is much stronger, and I'd love to see if others do too

  2. Comments have been slow lately, even though people are still visiting. No idear why!

  3. Mei's blurb makes more sense than the initial. It is most likely still not a book I would read (not quite my style), but it sounds more intriguing after the rewrite.