Posted by: theodorecosmosophia | July 12, 2011

Book Review: The Sapphire Song

Literature, like all art, serves many purposes in a culture. Its multivalent nature is part of what gives it its power: it entertains even as it informs, distracts us from our lives as it calls us to live our lives more fully, more meaningfully.  The Sapphire Song, a novella by T.E. Pederson, is a work that embraces the role of the writer as mythmaker.  Indeed, this is the fullest expression of writing, of storytelling. In today’s literary climate, and perhaps in the artistic scene altogether, we seem to have become unaware of the power of the artist as a mythmaker, of a creator of culture, of our world.

The funny thing about fiction is that the more “realistic” it is, the more it distracts us from the real.  Those genres that are the equivalent of “reality” TV, so popular at mainstream bookstores, are real only insofar as they possess the capacity to delude us, to convince us that the real is that which is most perfunctory. The Sapphire Song makes no such pretentions; we never think we are anywhere other than a dreamworld. But this is exactly what makes its impact on our psyche, on our living, breathing, waking world, so profound.

Rich with both archetypal and natural imagery—indeed, it fits into what eco-feminist philosopher Charlene Spretnak would call “embedded literature”—The Sapphire Song takes us on a mythical journey in which a young woman and young man are united: Akasha, the storyteller, and Metaxaeus, the sculptor.

The journey, of course, is neither merely Akasha’s and Metaxaeus’s, nor is it merely Pederson’s.  It is not even merely in our own soul.  Like any myth, The Sapphire Song draws us into a dialogue in which we are facing deep questions that simultaneously inhabit both world and psyche, cosmos and soul.  They are questions which are at least partly unanswerable but which, left unasked, leave us incomplete.

The Sapphire Song is a reclamation of the literary tradition in the name of the mythic.  Its prose, reminiscent of a dreamworld, affects the reader’s consciousness beyond the intellectual.

How telling it is that the novella, much like its kindred form, the poem, has been marginalized in today’s literary scene.  We seem psychologically to need the distraction of plot but cannot deal with the intensity of image.  The imagery of The Sapphire Song draws at once from archetypal—not unlike such authors as Hesse—and the natural.

The Sapphire Song is perhaps not what we call “beach reading”, nor will it take weeks to read.  But its rhythm is not unlike the surf, and Pederson’s debut will live with the reader for much longer than weeks.

Find more on The Sapphire Song at the Homebound Press Website.

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