Thompson Sayer Crockett. iPublish (see www.ipublish.com for a list of online retailers) $9.95 (255p)
In a contemporary myth that melds elements of Alice in Wonderland, Homer's Odyssey and The Wizard of Oz, first-time author Crockett deftly evokes natural beauty, dreamy visions and dark memories. Successful photojournalist Marina has seen and recorded the worst moments of devastation in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kuwait and Chechnya. Bereft of the inner spark that once illuminated her photographs, she leaps to her death from the deck of a cruise ship. Carried on the back of a sea turtle, Marina washes ashore on an enchanted island where the Turtle Woman, old by day and young by night, nurses her broken body and reveals that she must choose between life and death. To choose life, Marina journeys over a mountain to reach the other side of the island with the help of a cast of ghostly characters. From Rafael, who becomes her lover, she learns to be fully present in the moment. From Téves, the caretaker of a magical forest, she learns to listen with an open heart. After examining her interior landscape and learning to balance the light and shadow within her-as she does in her photographs-Marina is able to help others she meets. Crockett succeeds in creating a lush spirit world that stirs both attraction and fear in his human characters.