Available now from William Morrow (HarperCollins)
There was a bit of a shipping mix-up, so I'm still reading THE PREDICTIONS. But I like what I've read so far. It starts with a literal bang when Shakti wrecks her car arriving at Gaialand's, the commune where Poppy was raised.
Shakti isn't the only other change in their lives. Poppy and the other six kids on the commune were raised equally by all the adults, not knowing who their birth parents were. But when hormones started flying, the adults realized they had to step in and tell. Shakti reveals more of the cracks between the commune's ideals and reality, but that was the first for the kids. And as Poppy puts it, "I didn't say any of this to Shakti, but in my opinion if the adults didn't like the way we had turned out, it wasn't our fault. It was theirs (page 58)."
THE PREDICTIONS is a very swift read. I was interested in it because I thought it would stretch my horizons. I haven't read much literature from New Zealand, so that peaked my interest. I also like the idea of a book that spanned both a commune and the fading 80s punk rock scene in London. The very original settings help this bildungsroman stand apart, and Zander's writing keeps it all from seeming too crazy. I'm looking forward to finishing the second half of the book!
Gaialands, a bucolic vegan commune in the New Zealand wilderness, is the only home fifteen-year-old Poppy has ever known. It's the epitome of 1970s counterculture—a place of free love, hard work, and high ideals . . . at least in theory. But Gaialands's strict principles are shaken when new arrival Shakti claims the commune's energy needs to be healed and harnesses her divination powers in a ceremony called the Predictions. Poppy is predicted to find her true love overseas, so when her boyfriend, Lukas, leaves Gaialands to fulfill his dream of starting a punk rock band in London, she follows him. In London, Poppy falls into a life that looks very like the one her prediction promised, but is it the one she truly wants?
The Predictions is a mesmerizing, magical novel of fate, love, mistakes, and finding your place in the world.
About Bianca Zander
Bianca Zander is British-born but has lived in New Zealand for the past two decades. Her first novel, The Girl Below, was a finalist for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, and she is the recipient of the Creative New Zealand Louis Johnson New Writers' Bursary and the Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship, recognizing her as one of New Zealand's eminent writers. She is a lecturer in creative writing at the Auckland University of Technology.
Check out Bianca's website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.