We can’t see the word odyssey without thinking of the epic Greek poem attributed to Homer that begins (in Robert Fagles’ translation):
Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns
driven time and again off course, once he had plundered
the hallowed heights of Troy.
Indeed, the word stems from Odysseus’ trip, meaning a long and wandering physical or spiritual quest with multiple adventures and changes of fortune.
My novel Garden of Heaven is subtitled “an Odyssey” because protagonist David Ward ends up in many places with many people before returning to the Montana ranch where he grew up.
The novel has multiple locations: Glacier National Park, the Florida Panhandle, Chicago, Hawai’i, the Philippines, the Netherlands, central Illinois, Pakistan, and the Gulf of Tonkin. In each place, new problems and adventures occur.
But there are some common themes. One is his first lover’s relentless quest for revenge which is caused by a problem of which David is unaware. Another is David’s spiritual journey which begins on a vision quest in Glacier National Park and then haunts and inspires him from one end of his odyssey to the other. And, like Homer’s Odysseus, David also has a way with words, though it remains to be seen whether this is more of a blessing than a curse.
Untangling the lies and truths strewn throughout his journey will take David quite a few years. In the process, he will serve aboard an aircraft carrier, climb one of the most difficult mountains in the world, work as a professor at a small college, and consort with horses, eagles and ravens. Garden of Heaven is not one adventure, it’s many. And, as in “real life,” David’s good fortune often looks like bad fortune, and vice versa.
Garden of Heaven is available as an e-book from OmniLit for $5.99.
For more information about Garden of Heaven, see my August 3, 2010 interview on BookBuzzr.