Saturday, December 22, 2007

Reinventing Yourself, Changing Your Destiny – Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith book review

When we claim a moment to be magical, we feel as if that moment transcends our normal experiences, our ingrained rules, and our cultural outcomes. Magic raises us out of skepticism slowly but if it is good enough, we become fervent believers.

Magic realism is a literary term describing how a story is told. The stories are grounded in reality but some characters have "supernatural" or larger-than-life abilities. With magical realism, women can take flight with dewy, velvet wings, fleeing a life that only had one outcome by trying to escape her iron-clad destiny.

Authors such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez (author of One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera - which was just released as a movie) and Isabel Allende (author of The House of Spirits) and Gina B. Nahai (author of Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith) are some authors who write magical realism. Gina Nahai's character, Roxanna the Angel, took flight from a generational destiny and from Tehran where a woman's ability to escape her fate is so difficult that she must don silky white wings and leap from a balcony with all the faith that she will land softly in a new place.

"Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith" is a powerful, compelling, and fascinating novel depicting several women's lives, women who refuse to meekly accept the lot they were assigned in life and women who forged a new life for themselves.

These women didn't create their new lives without sacrifice, humiliation, pain, loss, or mistakes, yet they succeeded in reinventing themselves and elevating their human experience beyond the level of survival.

Mercedes the Movie Star used her extreme beauty to control the men who thought they controlled women. Fräulein Claude completely overhauled herself by denying her national heritage and insisting that she was of German noble descent. Alexandra the Cat also claimed a noble birth and presumed all the dignity that comes with such a claim. Roxanna the Angel literally flew away from her destiny until she could no longer avoid past and her choices.

The story is mostly about Roxanna and the effect her choices had on the people she loved, including her daughter Lili. When trying to make sense of her life and understanding her choices, Roxanna told her daughter:

"In the beginning, I tell Lili, there were many choices and I believing I was doomed, let them go to waste."

Even though Roxanna fled, she never believed she could truly escape her destiny and maintain any relationship with her family and friends - they were incompatible. This conviction led her to make devastating, painful choices.

I've heard the voices of many women who feel so trapped that they become convinced that absolute escape is the only solution. Famous female authors like Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf are two women who chose death as their reconciliation. Other women are not as extreme but they fight the chasm between who they think they should be and who they believe they are with an exhaustive force.

Do you ever feel like reinventing yourself or simply escaping? How would you do it? What would you be escaping? Is your reinvention completely incongruent with your current life?
I encourage you to read "Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith" (1999) by Gina B. Nahai to see how her characters managed their reinvention.

Gina B. Nahai was born in Iran who later moved to Los Angeles, California. She is also the author of a new book entitled "Caspian Rain," "Sunday's Silence," and "Cry of the Peacock."

--Looking for more? Visit Famiss, women making and discovering their own history

About the author: Allison Frederick is a writer and online marketing educator for other creative women. offers free Web 2.0 resources. She is also the author of an upcoming novel, A Portrait of Josephine, an academic-lite thriller. Find out how to receive a free copy of the novel by visiting

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