Through the Mirror by Joanna Paterson – Book Review

Through the Mirror by Joanna Paterson – Book Review

Through the Mirror by Joanna Parterson

Through the Mirror
Tales and Stories

Author – Joanna Paterson
Publisher – Small Press Publishing
Pages – 128
Release Date – 17th June 2016
ISBN-13 – 978-0993553509
Format – ebook, paperback
Reviewer – Candide
I received a free copy of this book
Post Contains Affiliate Links

New Synopsis Through the Mirror

It is wise to hang a mirror in the darkest corner of the darkest room. It will catch the light where it shines least. It will suck in the remaining light like a waterfall. The light tumbles down into the deep, dark space, the dark side of the mirror. Like the dark side of the moon, the most beautiful light gathers and meets there.

Put the book down on your lap as you sit in the room with the mirror and look up. The room is painted in oxblood which means it has a mauve sheen. The deep colour brings out the pictures. They lift from the walls. They circle the room in measured leisureliness. They know they are the artworks that last; but the mirror enthrals them because it has stories in it.

The white hand-made paper in one frame shows the big rust-coloured fishing vessel that lists towards the stone built quay. The coal steamer is tired-looking. The wood creaks; it has not been caulked or cleaned. It was painted a loving bright red once with a blue arrow decorating its prow. The blue has washed out. The red of its funnel is rusted. The fine black paint of its pilot house is slashed in peeling greys.

New Review

This is a slim book of short stories, bursting with idiosyncratic thoughts and ideas. I have to say that I have never read a book like it, these aren’t normal stories with a beginning middle and end; they are thought rambles. These are shimmering silken gossamer out of myth, humanity and nature, and are left hanging there, waiting to be seen.

The book starts with poignant stories of love and loss, it then gathers momentum as it becomes autobiographical. Mairi as herself, the crone, a wise woman with her feet on the ground, taking Zena (the child in her) on a journey. It is of course the child that opens Mairi’s eyes and reveals the truth.

Later we meet Belle, her university self, already aware of the importance of nurturing the child within herself to foster creativity. However, still dwelling, mainly in the shadows, seeing more in the negative space than in the burning glare of sunlight.

I particularly enjoyed this next section; it was as if she has been airlifted from her natural environment and beamed down into a brightly lit urban jungle. It is always night as she looks out of her window onto a building site, her friendly trees have been replaced by cranes, concrete boxes with naked electric light and raw jagged steel. Despite all this, her beautiful moon is ever present. Its reflection, dancing on the black water of the river, its natural cycles continues with a gentle quiet inevitability. Her thoughts wander, and she tells more stories of wise beautiful moon goddesses.

Finally, her thoughts turn to her travels. The author has researched gardens, and the people who built and lived in them. She looks at what is left, taking in the whole environment, imagining the moments that have lead to their creation, and what it felt like to dwell amongst these spaces.

This volume of poetic prose, has changed the way I see things. If it is possible to be more awake and aware of my connection to nature then Ms. Paterson has woken me up. I hope many people read this book, her fragmentary style, and the way she doesn’t quite finish a story ( if it was a story…), mean that you can take out of it whatever is relevant to you at the moment.

Book reviewed by Candide

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New About the Author

Joanna Paterson

Journal and writing coach, teaching ways to notice and capture the wonder of the everyday, through writing, poetry, and photography.

I write, primarily online, about writing, the creative process, and what happens when we remember to open our eyes, pay attention, and wonder.

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