Aditi: The Journey to Terencil
by Beverly Mitchell Dodd
BJM Books

"And even here in the Western world, women are still considered possessions by some men."

Erin, a middle aged woman, abruptly leaves her husband after realizing her life is empty. Without much forethought, she visits a cousin who turns out to have changed drastically, engages in a disastrous one-night stand, then catches a lift from a complete stranger after her car breaks down. Finally, after buying a cheap used car, she takes on a young man her son’s age who winds up more trouble than he is worth. Erin winds up at Terencil, a mountain home filled with battered or traumatized women. They espouse a "no man on the premises" policy and practice a feminist worship of a Goddess figure.

Erin befriends Aditi, a recovering alcoholic, their relationship growing intense. Aditi is not so bound by the house rules as the others, and soon Erin accompanies her on visits to Bruce, a middle-aged furniture maker who lives deep in the forest. Eventually Aditi flees abruptly. The house begins to fall apart, and Erin moves in with Bruce. One of the Terencil women's daughter shows up, incoherent, and Bruce attempts to get help. Erin begins to live on scraps, holed up in the now-abandoned Terencil. She witnesses a young woman being battered by her husband and enters a final confrontation threatening Erin's life again.

The theme is one of feminist awareness, Erin representing a middle class woman abruptly initiated into this philosophy through her experiences with marriage and men. Told as if addressing Aditi, the author allows us access to Erin's thoughts and feelings as she moves from acolyte of matriarchal world view to a more independent and self-determined woman willing to give battle to real-world victimization. The characters are recognizable, the plot sufficiently fraught with dramatic tension to keep the pages turning.

Return to USR Home