Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Sarabande Books
The Motel of the Stars is a novel set in Kentucky and North Carolina on the eve of the 1997 anniversary of the Harmonic Convergence, a mystical alignment of planets and a portending of universal peace first celebrated in 1987. Part satire of New Age philosophy and part commentary on a modern, fear-based era, the novel is the story of Jason Sanderson and Lory Llewellyn, who travel to the 1997 Anniversary Gathering at the foot of Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. Both characters have for ten years mourned the loss of Sam Sanderson, Jason's son and Lory's lover, and both must emerge from grief into a new age of possibility and hope.
This book revolves around the concept of the harmonic convergence between the planets and stars to meld a story about despairity and faith. We get glimpses into the depths of two aching souls, looking for escape through love and acceptance. Jason Sanderson and Lory Llewellyn are both grieving the ten year loss of Sam – Jason for his son and Lory for her lover. Their grief could be anyone’s grief and McElmurray openly paints the story through the wounds of loss and sadness.
But we not only get the all-encompassing grief, McElmurray teases us with memories of the past and give us characters we can believe in. Jason and Lory maybe flawed people with a common grief, but they are unique individuals you will continue to think about long after you close the last page of the book. These are characters you will want to revisit again.
I was first introduced to Karen McElmurray by my friend and writing mentor, Tony Sexton, after he attended one of her writing workshops. McElmurray demonstrates the powerful way a mutual loss of a loved one can bind two totally different people together. She has a uniquely powerful voice and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.
The book was the Linda Bruckheimer Series in Fiction 2007 winner from Sarabande Press.