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Unquenchable Fire Hardcover – March 1, 1992


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook Hardcover (March 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879514477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879514471
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,421,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It's uncomfortable to be chosen for Great Things. A lot of fantasists admit that, but Pollack's Jennie Mazdan shows us just how uncomfortable it can be. This is suburban fantasy, reminiscent of Philip K. Dick's suburban SF, and the protagonist is a nice suburban middle-class person who, in a recognizable America informed with rational, non-Christian divine powers, copes with supernatural imposition on her life. Perfectly balancing the anchoring familiar mundanities against her brilliant, fascinating Living World---surly bureaucrats at the National Oneiric Registration Agency, tourists photographing the Founder's Urinal shrine in Poughkeepsie---Pollack tells Jennie and Valerie's story of transformation, acceptance and triumph. Potently stocked with archetypes, yet down-to-earth and even funny, this is great fiction and great fantasy. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This compelling, surrealistic fantasy takes place in the U.S. 87 years after a second Revolution--mystical, feminist and green; in this America, the laws of nature embrace miracles as everyday but honored occurrences, which are monitored and controlled by the Spiritual Development Agency. Picture Tellers--icons who have replaced film and rock stars in the public's affection--recount tales of the Founders, such as Mohandas Quark, who overcame technophiles and secularists to bring about the Living World. Yet much here remains familiar. One of the towers of the World Trade Center belongs to the Association of Oracles and Speakers, while the other holds the modern electronics panoply; a Bagel Nosh sells a sandwich called Founder's Delight. In Poughkeepsie, Jennifer Mazdan, nearly 30 and three years beyond the annulment of her marriage, has an unusual dream, finds herself miraculously pregnant and then is thwarted by mysterious forces when she seeks an abortion. She is fated to bear a child who will have unimagined effects on a complacent new order. Spinning her tale from strands of the commonplace and themes and rituals of many religions, Pollack ( 78 Degrees of Wisdom ) develops a new mythology for her skewed, strangely familiar society.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By C. J. Silverio on May 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In the medium-near future, a revolution has taken place. The forces of science and rationality have lost. The newage Founders of the new reality have loosed the forces of mysticism and the world has changed. Miracles happen routinely. Government and society have restructured themselves to accomodate this new strange reality.
A suburban woman has a strange experience during a holy day. She finds that she has been made pregnant by an unknown agent. How will she cope? How will her very suburban neighborhood cope?
My husband had been trying to get me to read this book for ages. Finally he got me when I couldn't escape and began reading this aloud to me. When he stopped after the first chapter, I demanded he hand the book to me so I could finish.
This book came from nowhere for me. I don't know of anything like it. I guess this is shamanistic fantasy. It feels SF-ish, though, in that it's a consistent future world with sensible rules. Whatever it is, it's a stunner, the kind of book that leaves me incredibly excited and optimistic about the state of SF & fantasy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 20, 1996
Format: Hardcover
I don't know what it was that attracted me to this book--
perhaps it was the striking cover art of a floating figure
with a flaming mask. Perhaps (as I now think having read it)
it was something greater than random chance.

This is not a book that I would characterize as a light,
enjoyable read. It is exceedingly strange, both in form, and
in the world it describes. The world of the book is loosely
based on our own, although that world has been transformed by a
spiritual force acting through designated tellers of stories.
These stories are so apocryphal and so powerful as to have led
to a "revolution" in the very nature of the world.

The story is told as a narrative with bits of these world-
defining recitations interspersed. The main character, a
plain young woman who works servicing the shrines to
the revolution, is battered by visitations that appear contrary
to the ones sanctioned by the government. Her struggle to
understand the meaning of her experiences is mirrored by the
reader's own attempt to understand them in the context of our
own, more mundane world.

It is difficult to describe the power of this book because of
its very unusual nature. The oddity of this book persists
throughout until the very end, when this reader (for one)
experienced that moment of pure clarity and light which makes
me think back on it, even thought I read it almost a year ago
now.
Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sean E. Mcgrath on September 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Jennifer Mazdan is pregnant.. except she's a virgin, and there was no man involved but an Agency who needs Jennifer to give birth to this child to save humanity from dry morals, banal religion and oppressive dogma.
Wait.. doesn't this seem familiar...?
Here, Rachel Pollack has created a Messiah story that focuses on the mother of the Messiah, and how she doesn't want to be "chosen", how she'd prefer to be left alone and be obscure, the same way everyone else in her world is - dry, homogenized, merely going through the motions of life. Jennifer rebels in every way possible, but the Agency finds ways to keep her on track... but never docile and accepting.
The book tells several stories at once, each from different times, told for different purposes - "The Place Inside", "The Meaning of a Story", "The Lives of the Founders", Valarie Mazdan's adventures (a few), and, of course, Jennifer Mazdan's saga. "The Place Inside" chills me still.
The editing is uneven to say the least, but we can't fault the author for that, but rather Tusk Press. Typos abound.
Find a copy of this book and enjoy it.
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