Think Cloud Atlas, a classic story of rebirth, many lives, and reincarnation on a level that involves protagonists in other lives - but take it a step further in Recognitions, the first novel in a trilogy, which presents a woman under hypnosis who sometimes encounters a French girl on the cusp of
marriage and sometimes an African shaman facing a village's struggles with illness and slavery.
Then take these diverse lives and weave them together in the story of a modern-day woman, Amelia (who must deal with these other lives and her own daily challenges, and who faces her own struggle to understand the connections and messages that lie in her dreams and hypnotic state), and you have an emotionally-charged saga filled with three threads that weave back to one tapestry of wonder.
Under a different hand, this saga of birth, death, and afterlife could have easily proved confusing: it's no simple matter to create three disparate, very different lives, and blend them together with purpose and discovery; no easy venture to bring each of these pieces to life and then meld them into
It's also satisfying to note that the protagonist doesn't just skip into acceptance of these threads and their impact on her life; she's pulled in reluctantly, and initially believes these results from hypnotherapy and dream states to be 'craziness'. She's no new age believer: she's a wife,
mother, and has a life of her own.
But hers is a life destined to transform (though her husband's departure has already started the process of vast changes) in unexpected ways, and the gift of this approach lies in how past, present, and future worlds not only connect, but collide.
There are many passages that support all kinds of emotional connections and disconnects, as well. As Amelia's life changes and as her novel-writing is spiced by her dream states, she finds the courage to not only probe these events, but understand and incorporate them into her own world.
The result (much like Cloud Atlas's ability to make readers think far past its last page) is a story that is quietly compelling: a moving saga highly recommended for any reader interested in predetermination, past lives, and how three disparate worlds interlace.