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Woman in the Tower
Stories for the Wounded Child

by Richard Lance Williams


This debut novel describes the emotional journey of an unnamed man through the use of fables. Readers are introduced to this man during a time of crisis, although the specifics of his turmoil (and indeed all the specifics of his life) remain hidden. As this everyman struggles with the unknown, a mystical guide in the form of a woman in the tower provides him with life choices disguised as fairy tales. The woman provides the man with no solid answers, but offers him new stories to tell himself.

In the narrative surrounding the fairy tales, readers are provided a few details of the man’s situation. Somewhere off the coast of Central California, the man sees a tower in the distance that draws him; once inside, he sees a manuscript, meets an enigmatic woman, and talks to a magical man.  Outside the tower, he also talks to other strangers: a young boy, a waitress, a restaurant owner, and a real estate agent. Everywhere he journeys and everyone he meets, however, have one thing in common: Everybody has a story to share.  How much of these activities are real or imagined depends upon the reader’s interpretation.

The fables within the story also have different interpretations. Williams claims, in an Author’s Note, that he tested the fables on his youngest daughter before including them in the  book.  Taken at face value, these stories within the story may entertain readers of all levels.  Taken at a deeper level, these fables explore essential concepts of Jungian psychology, such as  the power of dreams, the collective unconscious, universal symbols, and life stages.

Woman in the Tower probably will not appeal to fiction readers who enjoy a concise, linear story with a beginning, middle, and ending.  For readers in the midst of their own personal crises, however, this collection of symbolic fables contained within a loosely structured narrative may be just what the therapist ordered.

The Book

Dalton Publishing
May 2009
Fiction / General Literary (Fairy Tales, Folklore, Mythology)
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The Reviewer

Leslie Halpern
Reviewed 2009
NOTE: Reviewer Leslie Halpern is the author of Reel Romance: The Lovers' Guide to the 100 Best Date Movies, Dreams on Film, A Writer's Guide to Fearless Interviews, and the co-author of Connections: A Collection of Poems. Coming Soon: Passionate About Their Work: Celebrities, Artists, and Experts Discuss Creativity.
© 2009