Miami in Virgo, a Mystical Feminist Novel by Sally Abbott     

Fifty years ago, California and elsewhere in the US and around the globe were roiling, creative, hopeful, and passionately dynamic places where many of those currently active in feminism and  feminist religion and spirituality found their voices and lives’ work. To offer a taste of that historical moment through the eyes of one young woman, you are invited to enter the world of the novel Miami in Virgo.

Set in California’s Central Valley in the mid-seventies, Miami in Virgo is a coming-of-age novel narrated by seventeen year-old Miami Montague. Insecure and fatherless, Miami struggles to hammer out an identity through her photography and the practice of feminist Wiccan ritual with her friends. She is short-circuited and ambushed, however, by emotional rivalries, sexual insecurity, and family drama. Her early years spent with her fundamentalist grandmother in east Texas cast a long shadow.

Disappointments in love coupled with exposure to the nascent gay pride movement in San Francisco lead her to question her own sexuality. Her confidence in free fall, Miami enters into a reckless one night stand at a Halloween party that has disastrous consequences for her move into a household full of teenage stepbrothers when her mother unexpectedly remarries and they move across county. Her peccadilloes take on a spiritual dimension and she goes through a soul searing scrutiny which eventually leads to the resolution of her conflicts through the deepening of her character.

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Leonora Carrington’s THE HEARING TRUMPET – Book Review by Sally Abbott

Sally Abbott

Long a fan of Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington, I was initially hesitant when the New York Review of Books reissued her 1974 novel, The Hearing Trumpet.  I didn’t know what to expect when this extraordinary painter picked up a pen.

To my delight and surprise, Carrington shows the same artistry and whimsy in her writing that she does in her painting.  She also reveals herself to be an astute feminist and aficionado of the Goddess, well-versed in arcane lore, with which she accents her fantastical world.  The Hearing Trumpet is full of British humor and eccentricity, set in a finely spun, other-worldly landscape.

The World of the Maya

Her heroine Marian Leatherby is a 92-year-old, who lacks teeth, is hard of hearing, and sports a beard–a whimsical, endearing character who loves cats.  She has been given a hearing trumpet by her great friend Carmella, and thereby learns that her son and his wife plan to send her away to an old folks’ home run by a Dr. Gambit and the Well of Light Brotherhood.

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