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Posted November 12, 2009
Traveling with Frankka
The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show is about Frankka, a lapsed Catholic with a rather peculiar psychic ability: while fasting, she can concentrate on her wrists and make them bleed. For seven years she lives on the road with a performance troupe that includes a drag queen who levitates while dressed like a Catholic nun, a fortune teller and former battered wife with a small child, a fire-breather, and a bearded woman. They rarely stay in the same town or city for a week, and satirizing the Christian religion means they sometimes encounter hostility from fundamentalists (including the "God Hates Fags" picketers whom I frequently saw in Kansas). Meanwhile, Frankka has very realistic and moving flashbacks to psychological traumas from her childhood and youth.
Although I normally avoid books that are from a Xian perspective, I decided to read The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show because Ariel Gore impressed me at a couple of author readings. To my relief, this book did not handle Xianity in a way that made me want to hurl chunks: instead, the narrator is very critical of the patriarchy in organized Catholicism and aware that goddesses such as Brigit were taken and turned into saints. The book goes on to show that even Christianity--and dare I saw Catholicism--can involve genuine spirituality, when it is in the mystical tradition rather than the way it is practiced as an organized religion. Frankka has a hobby of writing her own versions of the lives of saints, each a mystical individual. If only they were typical.
This is an excellently written literary novel with strongly developed, believable, and engaging characters.
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Posted April 10, 2010
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