Is it possible to come of age at 60 or 90? Is it ever too late to fulfill your dreams? When ninety-year-old Bubbles receives a letter from Mexico City asking her to pick up her mother’s ashes, lost there seventy years earlier and only now surfacing, she hatches a plan. A woman with a mission, Bubbles convinces her hippie daughter Feather to accompany her on the quest. Both women have recently shed husbands and have a secondary agenda: they’d like a little action. And they get it. Alternating narratives weave together Feather and Bubbles’ odyssey. The two women head south from Canada to Mexico where Bubbles’ long-dead mother, grandmother, and grandfather turn up, enlivening the narrative with their hilarious antics. In Mexico, where reality and magic co-exist, Feather gets a new sense of her mother, and Bubbles’ quest for her mother’s ashes-and a new man-increases her zest for life. Unlike most women her age, fun-loving Bubbles takes risks, believing she’s immortal. She doesn’t hold back in any way, eating heartily and lusting after strangers, exulting in her youthful spirit. Has Bubbles discovered a fountain of youth that everyone can drink from? *Praise for Fling!* Fling! is both hilarious and touching. Every page is a surprise, and the characters! I especially loved Bubbles, one of the most endearing mothers in recent fiction. A scintillating read. ~ Lewis Buzbee, award-winning author of The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop and faculty at University of San Francisco MFA program
“Fling! Sticks with You”
Five Star Review on Amazon By A fascinating read
REVIEW of Lily Iona MacKenzie’s novel, “FLING”
From the start, MacKenzie creates worlds within worlds as her characters float back and forth in time, experiencing moments both lived and imagined. Filled with dreams, hopes, drama, the mundane and the mystical, each character travels through space (geographically from Scotland to Canada to Mexico) and time (past, present and future). In the same breath, then in skipped breaths, MacKenzie flings us in and out of the overflowing lives of three generations of women.
After celebrating her 90th birthday, “Bubbles” is determined to collect her deceased mother’s ashes in Mexico. She believes that having the ashes will allow her to feel closer to the mother who had abandoned her. Determined to see if such a journey will allow her to release “the memories buried under resentments she’s amassed over the years,’’ Bubble’s daughter, Feather, agrees to accompany her mother. Understanding now that “one person’s mess can be rooted in another generation,” Feather begins the journey wanting to forgive her mother and to find respect for all the women in her family who followed their dreams even as they left poverty and children behind.
Weaving stories of love and lust between other tales of broken marriages, loneliness, and longings, MacKenzie succeeds in filling our appetite for finding meaning and placing closure on the pains of the past, while living uninhibited adventures in the present.
In the final act of Thornton Wilder’s “OUR TOWN,” when the dead who inhabit the town’s cemetery take front and center stage, the main character, Emily, ultimately returns to the cemetery saying of the living: “They don’t understand.” So, too, in FLING, we find not only the ashes of a grandmother long since dead, but a woman who magically comes to life. The fine line between memories, life, death, and an eternal search for feeling connected to family, to what’s real, and to what’s larger than life, is skillfully navigated by MacKenzie, who respects and helps us to understand each of her quirky – sometimes introspective, sometimes wise – but always marvelously fascinating and entertaining characters.
About the Author
Writing requires exertion, the ability not to give in when we’ve received yet another rejection. Some people call this perseverance. But is that what it takes to keep writing in the face of adversity, rejection, and lack of recognition? The word sounds so duty bound, so driven. To me, a better word is discipline because at the root is disciple, though there are many lovely variations on this word that I actually prefer: student, follower, learner, devotee.
I’m devoted to following the intricacies of language and where it takes me. I’m ardent about words and what they evoke in our minds and imaginations, the worlds they create. And I’m constantly learning, a student of the writer’s craft, eager to open myself each day to the endless possibilities this calling presents. No wonder I love to write!
About me? Born in Edmonton, I was raised in Calgary and currently live in the SF Bay Area. A high school dropout and a mother at 17, in my early years, I supported myself as a stock girl in the Hudson’s Bay Company, as a long distance operator for the former Alberta Government Telephones, and as a secretary (Bechtel Corp sponsored me into the States). I also was a cocktail waitress at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco; briefly broke into the male-dominated world of the docks as a longshoreman (and almost got my legs broken); founded and managed a homeless shelter in Marin County; co-created THE STORY SHOPPE, a weekly radio program for children that aired on KTIM in Marin County; and eventually earned two Master’s degrees (one in Creative writing and one in the Humanities). I’ve published reviews, interviews, short fiction, poetry, travel pieces, essays, and memoir in over 145 American and Canadian venues. Fling! was published in July 2015. Bone Songs, another novel, will be published in 2016. My poetry collection All This was published in 2011. Visit my blog at lilyionamackenzie.wordpress.com.