Shelley Hobson never really intended to jump.

Nevertheless, there she found herself, plummeting backward down the rabbit hole, defying gravity - into the underground maze of narrowly tunneled switchbacks and false passageways that were the 1970’s counterculture. And even in the crystal clear blackness of night, nothing was as it seemed . . .

* * *

Punctuated by sweet soul music, Hare Krishna finger cymbals, and the cries of Jonestown’s lost, "Corners" tells the intertwined stories of three young women as they experience love, pain, and personal transformation among real historical figures of the 1970’s San Francisco Bay Area. 

On a ledge over a Hyde Street alley we meet Shelley. At 22, she is struggling through a string of rocky love relationships with her gay childhood sweetheart and still another sexually confused lover, finally seeking shelter with a mob-connected grocery boy who becomes the San Francisco mayor’s bodyguard. 
Shelley’s soul mates, but still somehow strangers, are Barb, a born-again Christian ex-cheerleader who hears the voice of God in the Amharic language of Ethiopia, which she neither understands nor speaks; and Jacki, one of Jim Jones’ most trusted aides, a savvy, conflicted true believer who narrates part of the story through her diary. 

Barb’s drug of choice is her Moonie boyfriend Roger, but she is torn between her Pentecostal roots and the radical she loves. Still, when God speaks through her in Amharic, the language of Ethiopia, only Yonas, a handsome young Ethiopian, understands her, and she is rescued. In a bid to keep Barb, Roger leaves Moon and ventures into Ethiopian Rastafarianism. Unsuccessful in his love quest, he ultimately finds his way to Jonestown. 

Disguised, even from herself, as a naïve college student is Jacki. Climbing ever higher and higher in Jim Jones’s Peoples Temple, she wrestles with inner conflict and the demons that haunt her unholy mission, including a powerful sexual connection to Jones himself. All the while, the real mind of Jones unfolds to us, as Jacki keeps a firm grip on denial. 

These three young women’s stories reach their climaxes simultaneously with the tragic culmination of Jonestown, and with Roger’s final enlightenment.

"Corners" will take you through the looking glass deep into the soul of San Francisco’s 1970’s, navigating hairpin turns and penetrating the back alleys where the love generation was born. On this trip, no matter how hard one tries to remain small, one is destined to become quite large in spite of oneself, as do each of our main characters. Whether this happens for good or for evil, one must choose, but large is unavoidable.

Visit sylviasmith.blogspot.com for excerpts from "Corners."

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Tags: 1970s, Corners, SF, fiction, historic

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