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Margret Leigh Powell
The story of a courageous woman brought to the brink of destruction by despair
Set in Australia during the mid-1900s, this is the story of Jaycey, a sensitive and courageous woman, of her life-long search for happiness and of her struggle to come to terms with herself and her latent fear of death. Left orphaned and virtually penniless at the age of eighteen, she seeks escape through an ill-considered marriage, and its resultant traumas tax all her courage.She finds temporary solace in a brief and touching love affair, but the couple are forced to part; this, and other traumatic events tax her courage to the utmost.The book is also a study of the effects which can result from multiple disasters. Jaycey is at base a survivor and in a life which is unusually beset with adversity she faces up to her problems with exceptional courage - but only when these events occur separately. Faced with multiple disasters, she finds herself unable to cope, and comes to the brink of disintegration.
Though 'So Many Gods' is totally fictional, and any resemblances to real people are accidental, the theme nevertheless is based on the author's real life observations. While the majority of people can cope with a single disaster, when these are multiplied very few can rise above such a succession of events. When this happens, people develop their own ways of coping. In this book, the central character, Jaycey, chooses to opt out, finding herself quite incapable to go on with her life without shutting away all emotion. Eventually, of course, this method proves futile, resulting either in deep depression or a painful resurrection of the persona. The book tries to follow Jaycey's reactions to the problems that beset her.
'So Many Gods' is a complex and often moving story which plumbs both the heights and the depths of human emotions