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The Frequency of Souls: 10/04/09
My local library is full of many gems. Recently as a I strolled through the fiction at end of the alphabet the bright colors of The Frequency of Souls by Mary Kay Zuravleff cover got my attention. The combination of electrical extension cords (one male and one female) with the title had me flashing Bunny Modern.
Bunny Modern and The Frequency of Souls are contemporaries and both combine metaphysics and electrical engineering. While Niagara Spense is trying to discover an electrical record or "audible fossils" of life after death, I kept imagining her experiments as a contributing factor in the disappearance of electricity in Bunny Modern.
The novel though, isn't about Niagara Spense's experiments. Instead it's about how Niagara forces long time ice maker engineer, George Mahoney, to reexamine his own life. The man he had been sharing an office with was recently forced to retire and his replacement is the young, very tall and equally unconventional Niagara Spense. She's so different that she's alluring to him.
George though has a suburban life: wife, son and daughter. He's atypical for the neighborhood in that he's the only one who isn't a lawyer or stockbroker. He's equally atypical among the other engineers at his company because he makes an effort to be home in time for his family and even helps with the chores, the cooking and their children's homework. His family isn't perfect (no family is) but he seriously has to consider if it's worth jeopardizing just because Niagara is so very different.
I won't give away George's decision. The book is worth reading. It's one to take slowly, a chapter a night. Let the chapter sink in. Mull it over before moving on to the next one.
The novel was on the long list for the Orange Prize in 1997.