The Vigilance Of Stars by Patricia O’Donnell is a novel full of gripping stories and very real characters. It was very hard to put it down and stop reading.
The characters are connected and the series of stories are troubling, from the young lady who gets pregnant, only to have her boyfriend abandon her, to the older lady whose partner ends up in a senior living home unable to communicate with her.
And then there’s the young woman who suffers a traumatic illness and hospital procedure. When she gets out of the hospital, she’s very depressed and moves into her family’s camp on Parker Pond, which happens to be just a couple miles from my Mount Vernon home. And a lot of her story is about her time alone at that camp.
One interesting thing that happened is she meets Wilhelm Reich, a real person who lived in the Rangeley area. The woman sits in Reich’s orgone accumulator, essentially a box where you sit alone for 15 minutes. In that box, the young woman gets rid of her depression.
You may know that Reich was arrested and then put in prison for shipping is his boxes all over the country, violating a court order banning that. He died in prison and his estate is now the Wilhelm Reich Museum which is open to visitors from July through October.
Patricia O’Donnell is a professor of creative writing at the University of Maine at Farmington. She lives in Wilton and has a camp on Parker Pond. And yes, she is a very creative writer!