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"Destiny" is a series of three interrelated novellas that revolve around a single theme: Is it possible, as an act of will, for an individual to change what appears to be his or her fate? Can ...
"Destiny" is a series of three interrelated novellas that revolve around a single theme: Is it possible, as an act of will, for an individual to change what appears to be his or her fate? Can one deliberately modify the ingrained patterns of one's life, and thereby alter its course? In the case of each of these tales, the central character undertakes to do this, and in each case the outcome is radically different.
The path of the protagonist of the first story, "La Vita Nuova," is an occult one, involving meditation, parallel universes, time travel, and a training in Sufi out-of-body experiences. Jason Green, a rather timid librarian in New York City, finally gets the life he wanted, but it comes with a catch, one he cannot seem to resolve.
In the second story, "The Observer," Irene Davis is a talented artist who has spent her life keeping everyone at a distance. She wakes up on her fortieth birthday to discover that she is single, friendless, and devoid of any real meaning in her life. In the course of working with a therapist she begins to explore the possibilities for turning this around.
The final story, "The Seven Deadly Sins," revolves around the life of a high school social science teacher, George Crystal, who unexpectedly writes a best-seller and subsequently retires to a small village in England. From this vantage point, he decides to "purify" his life by working through the Seven Deadly Sins--Pride, Envy, Anger, Sloth, Greed, Gluttony, and Lust--one by one. After some initial success, the project starts to go awry, and then takes an unexpected turn when George falls in love with another American expatriate.
The fact that there are three separate, and fundamentally different, answers to the central question of the book finally lends it a philosophical or existential dimension, one that propels the reader to reflect on his or her own destiny, and what the possibilities are for having the life we really want.