Angels & Aliens: A Journey West

Mary Morris, Author Picador USA $23 (258p) ISBN 978-0-312-19949-4
""Belief is something I've left behind,"" writes Morris (Nothing to Declare), who teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence. ""I've been a Jew, a Buddhist, a believer, a doubter. But lately I haven't given much thought to any of this."" Yet, an improbable odyssey in California restores Morris to a kind of belief. Facing 40 and pregnant, Morris finds out the hard way that her lover, Jeremy, a distinguished professor of international law 20 years her senior and the divorced father of two, is reluctant to commit to a second marriage. In this rambling but ultimately engaging memoir, the author provides an account of her life after she moves from New York to Orange County, Calif., with baby Kate to live in a rented bungalow overlooking Main Beach. She describes the daily tedium of waiting by the phone for Jeremy's call, unable to pull away or to believe her lover's (as it happens, false) assurances that there is no one else. Beset by financial problems exacerbated by Jeremy's failure to provide child support, Morris assuages her loneliness by visiting nearby spiritual communities. A bad back drives her to the Edenic Light Center, where a teacher heals her aura. Morris also encounters a UFO abductee support group, and she becomes involved with ""light workers"" who predict the end of the world. She finally extricates herself from Jeremy, who tacitly acknowledges his true feelings by legally relinquishing parental rights to little Kate. In this quietly introspective book, Morris views the New Age advocates she meets with a refreshing degree of nonjudgmental objectivity and a sense that their quest for certainty is similar to her own. Throughout, her prose is as clear and well composed as her insights. Agent, Ellen Levine. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1998
Release date: 11/01/1998
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-312-20429-7
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