Abandoned by God and her husband, twin totems of her life to date, Morna Gordon embarks on a voyage of discovery, travelling first to California where she undergoes a series of extraordinary experiences, ending up in Disneyland, ‘the happiest place on earth’ – though not for her.
Shaken, she flees to a near-deserted island in the Hebrides where David, historian and researcher, is working on the Life of a seventh-century saint. Morna, translator by profession, has to learn, through David and his saint, a new interpretation of the world. Her contribution to his work helps forge a powerful bond between them, and slowly, movingly, and despite the still smarting slap-down of the Catholic Church, they discover body as well as soul.
The novel also explores the lives of Morna’s mother and daughter, charting Bea’s private crisis of faith and Chris’s stormy journey to maturity. Complex ties and tensions bind these three generations of women, all of whom suffer a ‘sea-change’.
The Stillness The Dancing juxtaposes youth with age, the rational with the numinous, subatomic physics with ancient pagan ritual, the grab-all twentieth century with the hair-shirt idealism of the Age of the Saints. It is a novel full of contrasts – switching boldly from humour to tragedy and broaching vital themes of faith and doubt, sham and self-delusion, while losing nothing of the uninhibited exuberance for which Wendy Perriam is known.
‘Unashamedly sexual, yet profoundly spiritual . . . a remarkable novel. It must be read.’ Fay Weldon