cover image Unquenchable Fire

Unquenchable Fire

Rachel Pollack. Overlook Press, $23.95 (390pp) ISBN 978-0-87951-447-1

This compelling, surrealistic fantasy takes place in the U.S. 87 years after a second Revolution--mystical, feminist and green; in this America, the laws of nature embrace miracles as everyday but honored occurrences, which are monitored and controlled by the Spiritual Development Agency. Picture Tellers--icons who have replaced film and rock stars in the public's affection--recount tales of the Founders, such as Mohandas Quark, who overcame technophiles and secularists to bring about the Living World. Yet much here remains familiar. One of the towers of the World Trade Center belongs to the Association of Oracles and Speakers, while the other holds the modern electronics panoply; a Bagel Nosh sells a sandwich called Founder's Delight. In Poughkeepsie, Jennifer Mazdan, nearly 30 and three years beyond the annulment of her marriage, has an unusual dream, finds herself miraculously pregnant and then is thwarted by mysterious forces when she seeks an abortion. She is fated to bear a child who will have unimagined effects on a complacent new order. Spinning her tale from strands of the commonplace and themes and rituals of many religions, Pollack ( 78 Degrees of Wisdom ) develops a new mythology for her skewed, strangely familiar society. (May)