Heather and the Jabberwocky
An Amorous Journey into the Mythical Antiquity of Now
A vengeful stalker tracks lovely Heather mercilessly from Hong Kong to France to Georgia as her artist husband fends off a Mexican drug cartel’s attempts to disrupt their tranquil academic lives. It’s an intelligent fantasy, a daunting mystery and a tantalizing adventure in literary fiction, told with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.
All hope for Heather depends on the Jabberwocky, a nonsense poem written by Lewis Carroll. When Alice of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland reads the poem, she says, «Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas — only I don't exactly know what they are.” Heather escapes the Caribbean monster Lusca only to rise to the heights of an Aztec sacrificial pyramid. In her desperation she discovers unfathomable ideas from her mind. They aren’t understood until made visual by her artist husband. Or is that another illusion from behind the looking glass? As with Alice, everything mirrors everything.
The reflective answers lie in the characters created by the author. As in earlier novels, described by critics as “marvelously extraordinary, eccentric and bizarre,” Peter Kelton’s characters emerge from their regular roles in life and slowly unmask their true selves from the cover of a stealthily constructed delusion — that idiosyncratic impression firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. For one character, tis a symptom of mental disorder; or is it?
In “Heather and the Jabberwocky” Kelton’s characters are indeed marvelously extraordinary, eccentric and bizarre. They are just as real as Studs Terkel’s real folks in “The Great War.” Instead of a war to bind them together, they share the odyssey of a fantasy.
“Heather and the Jabberwocky” is a companion to a seven-novel bookshelf that also includes “Splat!” “A Light in Polanco,” “The Trevor Truculence,” “Reminds Me of My Innocence,” “The Junk Yard Solution” and “The Yesterlings,” written in a span of 50 years after Lewis H. Lapham, editor of Harper’s, wrote to the author’s agent, “I love the way Kelton writes.” Psychologist B. G. Stice wrote in a review of Kelton’s first novel, in 2006. “The author is a master of plot twists. His writing is lyrical and stunning in its simplicity. He draws characters with a thin pencil and leaves the rest to your imagination. And he's not above pulling your leg.” “Splat!” has been described as “a surrealistic, erudite literary novel of romantic intrigue set on the slippery approaches to the dot.com era.”