Falling Night and Rising Day

Rachel Strayer

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 138 Price: (paperback) $19.99 ISBN: 9781493151080 Reviewed: May, 2014 Author Website: Visit »

This unique work conveys a severely depressed narrator’s journey of self-discovery through writing as she creates a fantasy world that she lives in with deities from Greek myth and Tarot divination. Writes the author in her Prologue: “The ‘I’ that addresses you…has nobody that can understand her anymore….Desperate, she has locked herself in a room with a journal and her old tarot deck.”

The slim book is a mix of prose and poetry. Although the pieces don’t follow a linear storyline, the book is structured around the Tarot suit of Swords. There is a definite progression in the cards, from the indecision and confusion of the Two of Swords to the mental clarity and objectivity of the Ace of Swords. Such clear, measured progression, unfortunately, isn’t found in the writings, which are muddled and repetitive, relaying obsessive anxiety about failing relationships, self-image, self-importance, the feeling of brokenness, etc.

This messy approach may be the author’s attempt to simulate the path of recovery, which is rarely straight and not easily understood. It’s also evident that these pieces are highly introspective and not written with readers in mind. At one point, the narrator writes: “…I do not care if anyone even attempts to figure this bullshit out.”

Amid the cluttered and at times confusing work, there is growth. With the help of the Olympians—her heroes and only real friends, it seems—the narrator picks up the pieces of her shattered being and recreates herself. In a piece entitled “Perspective,” she notes: “I know what I want and who I love. Whatever trials Olympus creates for me next, I know how to handle it…Here’s to life and a rekindled love for it.”

This isn’t a book for everyone. But the fusion of Plathian poetry, Tarot symbolism, and musical references throughout (Beatles, Apocalyptica, Lacuna Coil, etc.)—complemented by some effective and well-wrought illustrations—make this an intriguing reading experience.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

Author's Current Residence
Greensboro, North Carolina
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