Tex and Molly are a hip, aging couple performing street theater in Dublin, Maine. One day, when trying to hold Tex back from sliding into a well, Molly falls in with him, and they emerge into an exhilarating fantasy world of "Carrying, rocking, mothering motion." Award-winning, wildly imaginative author Grant (e.g., Rumors of Spring, LJ 2/15/87) escorts readers on an entrancing tour of the afterlife, a lyrically wrought primer of the other side where these appealing hippy souls confront nature, deities, naiads, and dryads and interact with mortal lovers now living on their houseboat. Diagrams, epigrams, and postlife advice such as "There's no use acting like a grown-up when you're not going to get any older" keep the pace moving and the tone bright. Although the plot doesn't have much heft to it, this comic novel, as effervescent and refreshing as spring water, stimulates the senses. Recommended.Molly Gorman, San Marino, Cal.
Dead hippies save the Maine forest in a shamanistic fable only a New Age devotee could love, though followers of Arthurian and magical fantasies may swell the readership.
Pot-smoking Tex and Molly, middle-agers who live on a houseboat in Cold Bay (off Dublin, Maine), get high, accidentally fall down a hidden woodland well and, like Alice, wake up in wonderland. In this afterlife they're more alive than dead. Their astral surroundings are much like those in the material world, and Grant (Views from the Oldest House, 1989, etc,) has some fun with the differences (Tex must concentrate profoundly to make a cup of tea). The afterlife is peopled with prehuman spirits as well as with spirits imagined and given life by humans. Amusingly, Tex hides in an acorn that is eaten by a pregnant bear and then issues forth as a cub when the mother is shot; Molly's version of the afterlife, meanwhile, is less strongly drawn than Tex's and fits more into goddess mythology. As things move forward, Gene Deere, a plant geneticist with the powerful, tree-gobbling Gulf Atlantic corporation, wants to change the way trees are grown and to replant the forest with an "unnaturally" shaped tree that will be more energy-efficient to harvest. He falls in with Ludi, a sparkly young member of the late Tex and Molly's Cold Bay Street Players (they hold rites and dance around in animal masks to drive off bad treekiller vibes), who eventually leads him down the right path. When a Gulf Atlantic forest burn-off threatens to wipe out huge tracts, wily Tex, who has himself been hectoring the seemingly helpless dryads to unionize, invokes the greatest prehuman spirit of all, the Bishop of Worms, to save Dublin from becoming a wasteland.
A between-worlds experience, in all, that Grant's facile fabulism robs of the force, beauty, and imaginative verve needed if an afterlife tale is to have a strong pull.