Heaven’s Hope: Isabella Ides’ White Monkey Chronicles

Isabella Ides’ White Monkey Chronicles: The Complete Trilogy

An air of mystical eternity permeates northern California’s Humboldt County. It’s not just the heady aroma of eucalyptus or the mist-shrouded sun floating silent over rolling hills at dawn. A pervasive spirit of ageless magic breathes soulful mantras beneath the surface of Humboldt’s every nook and cranny, vista and shady grove, day and night. Small wonder that Dallas-based playwright and author Isabella Ides set her majestic work, White Monkey Chronicles: The Complete Trilogy, an original fable of transformation, hope and renewal, there. Where it belongs.

“Perhaps the most mind-altering of the many under-examined metaphysical axioms on the etheric shuttle is the proposition that Earth is the hope of heaven. Stop. Repeat. Earth is the hope of heaven.”

Scintillating, sweeping, and sophisticated, this miraculous tale careens in kaleidoscopic, galaxy-spinning turns. White Monkey Chronicles reveals author Isabella Ides as a self-assured, equal-opportunity paradigm demolition expert. Storming entrenched temples of orthodoxy, shattering icons, upending conventions—the eponymous monkey blinks his eyes and worlds shake, spin backwards, endure cataclysmic transgression and collide, exploding with ineffable joy.

Many beloved films emerge from critically acclaimed books. Ides reverses the process, developed her tale as performance art first, allowing it to emerge chrysalis-like after, in fully blown narrative form. What results is a work that vibrates in a detailed, sensuous and often sensual reality, where every facet, character and transition demonstrates a vividness drawn from the tactile stage. Plot arcs rise, resonate and resolve with ferocious dramatic intensity. It’s hard to put the book down. Impossible to not fall in love with the eccentric, flawed, passionate, sometimes human and often godly characters, even the evil ones.

“Sister Merry Berry’s heart went boom when Luce crossed the room to fill her cup…She knew that beautiful bad boy right off. He could have struck a match on the rock of her unreason, the moment was that combustible….“I see you’ve been enjoying the wines in our cellar. I have to ask: Did you or did you not also help yourself to Mother Mary Extraordinary’s prayers?””

The trilogy’s jubilant resolution can win readers’ hearts. When Sister Merry Berry fires up her pink 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible, top down, in preparation for heavenly ascent, readers will aspire to hitch a ride with the unrepentant bohemian, relishing the mind-expanding experience the transit promises.

“Hear me out,” Roica lifted her chin. “When my breath was torn to rags, I turned my ship around, defeated down to my boots and headed homeward – and there was my answer. I saw how close the angels linger to the Earth. Look,” he turned her around. ”One tiny planet haloed in light. Even angels look to the Earth for love.”

White Monkey Chronicles is a lucid tome to cherish: to quote, to re-read and laugh and weep over on personal pilgrimage. Share it aloud with family and friends on chill winter’s or balmy summer’s evenings, most certainly in Humboldt County and beyond.

Dallas’ Echo Theatre hosts a reading of White Monkey Chronicles: The Complete Trilogy on Tuesday 4/17 at 7:30pm at the Bath House Cultural Center, part of the Echo Reads series. Author Isabella Ides will sign books and participate in post reading discussion hosted by Pam Myers-Morgan. Attendance is free, donations welcome.

Visit: www.echotheatre.org for more information.

Bath House Cultural Center: http://bathhouse.dallasculture.org/visit/

About Isabella Ides, playwright and author:

Raised under the Hollywood sign and educated by Hollywood nuns in a school that still stands on Hollywood Boulevard smack dab in the middle of Babylon, the fledgling writer and redactor thrived at this crossroads of the sacred and the profane. At first Isabella was horrified to learn that the god on offer, by the good Sisters she held in awe, was a murderer. Her young brain was riddled by the question: Why had this catechism-approved god drowned all the children when he saved Noah and a few animals? Convinced that her personal god was omni benevolent, she took the old god out of her deck of holy cards and invented another–a Godma as beautiful as the Hollywood Goddesses who romped in the seven-year-old’s imagination and gloried on the silver screen.

Book review by Alexandra Bonifield criticalrant@outlook.com

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