Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Winds of Change blow in every layer of this magnificient novel.

On the surface it is simply of coming-of-age story of a rebel child, who is destined to be the spiritual leader of her people. While we travel along with her on a physical journey first to explore the virgin land of Alaska, then in time to follow her maturation from child to adult, we are also immersed in her spiritual journeys to the realm of self discovery and divine revelation. 

Under the layer of Tuksook’s personal story we witness the life of a people moving and adapting to a new land. The Winds of Change blow in gusts for them. After their momentous migration their life soon settles into a pleasant, slumber-like rhythm, to be disturbed time and again by unusual events: a volcano erupting, a visitor from the far North, new arrivals from the old continent, a violent earthquake. 

To the superficial reader, these two layers of the book would already provide pleasant entertainment. Let’s dig deeper, however, to discover the true treasures of this novel! 

In the next layer we see a mightly evolution of Wisdom, god of the ancients. True, he was there in the previous volumes of the series, but more as a vague presence. Here, mostly via Tuksook’s spiritual journeys, Wisdom becomes a palpable entity, defined with sophistication… to the point where the reader may start wondering how much of the writer’s own spiritual experience found its way onto the pages. 

Down to the next layer! It is not only in depicting Wisdom that we can witness how Bonnye Matthews gains more confidence as a writer. This fourth book of The Winds of Change is significantly more ambitious than its predecessors. In the first three novels the author has tackled the question of how different human subspecies mixed over the prehistoric millennia, but it is here, in this volume, that she dares forecast the future of mankind for the novel’s protagonist. She explains to Tuksook how the ancient human variants will disappear with only certain traits of the different subspecies surviving in the far future – and she does it in such a language that a human being living in 35000 B.C., lacking knowledge of genetics, would understand. Of course, what is a vision of the future for Tuksook, is all retrospect for us, but it does not matter, for this brilliant writer’s stroke gives us readers a very clear, plain insight into where the Neanderthals, the Denisovans, Homo erectus and other, as-yet unidentified ancient humans are today. 

Finally, below all these layers, the writer does one more thing. By scratching at our past, she is – probably for the first time – earnestly scratching at our own future. Witness the ancient, virgin land of Alaska! People living in peace in a land of bounty, where even a gold nugget matters only as a thing of beauty and not as an object of value or a symbol of power. We all know that this Eden is no more. However, we also all know that there is immense beauty still in our world of the present. By teaching her readers how much mankind has already lost, Bonnye Matthews warns us without warning how much more we may lose – for the age of warfare and personal ambition which is a forecast for Tuksook is far from being over in our world of today. 

Bonnye Matthews is one writer who dares and succeeds on multiple levels. Some of her brave interpretations of the peopling of the Americas are just now – finally – being openly echoed by scientifically acknowledged sources (see National Geographic Magazine, January 2015). Humans in the Cook Inlet in 35000 B.C. ? A stone-age Atlantis in Alaska, destroyed by the sea? A lost civilization of Meganthropus in Asia? Who knows how many more of her visions of our deep past will be justified by future archaeologists? 

Dr. Attila Torkos, the reviewer, is an Hungarian ENT physician working in the United Arab Emirates.  He found Bonnye Matthews’s books on Amazon.