"After my son Kyle Ferriera van Leer declared his major in Egyptology at Yale in 2010, he mentioned the Book of Two Ways in passing. Without knowing a thing about it, I said, "That's a great title for a novel." It was only after he began to explain what it actually was that I realized what I needed to write about - the construct of time, and love, and life, and death"--Jodi Picoult
This book had me at Egypt and did not disappoint.
Dawn Edelstein is a Death Doula, she specializes in helping her clients find peace and comfort in the last days of their life. Dawn was drawn to this work after experiencing her own mother’s death in hospice care.
Dawn Edelstein is also an Egyptologist. Earning her doctorate and publishing her findings while on an archaeological dig in the hot Egyptian sun is what gives her life meaning.
These two versions of the same person are at play here in Jodi Picoult’s The Book of Two Ways.
The book of Two Ways is an ancient Egyptian text and belief depicting the path a soul can take to the afterlife. It’s basically a map of the underworld. It refers to the two paths which zig zag across a dangerous landscape with obstacles and demonic entities before (hopefully) reaching your destination; the realm of Osiris.
The Book of Two Ways shows you both possible paths and the many obstacles in your way but it is up to each of us to make our way, much as it is in life. You can see the road diverge ahead of you but it’s up to you to decide which path to take.
There is so much to love about this novel, and I was hooked immediately. I’m the one who excitedly booked my first stay in Las Vegas at the Luxor Hotel because that was probably as close to Egypt as I would ever get. Seeing the replicated version of King Tutankhamun’s tomb was still breathtaking and thousands of miles closer than the real thing. Not to say that traveling to Egypt isn’t on my bucket list.
The thing I love most about a Jodi Picoult book is the humanity on display. Raw and unvarnished, she captures what it means to be human, flaws and all. A must read.