Tex and Molly in the Afterlife
Richard Grant, Avon Fiction, 1996
Ive read a couple of fiction books recently that feature the NeoPagan
community with all its warts and wonders. The best one is Tex and Molly
in the Afterlife by Richard Grant. Ive bought remaindered copies for
half a dozen people, theyve passed them on to others, and Ive
yet to hear a negative review.
Tex and Molly are (or were ?) NeoPagan hippies living on a houseboat
in a small Maine town. One night, after a botched Beltane ritual, they go
to make an offering in a sacred well and fall in. Thats in chapter
2. The rest of the book is about their adventures in the Pagan afterlife,
where they have to get used to the idea that theyre dead, and bargain
with various Goddesses and Gods, bedraggled nature spirits, including a
homeless tree spirit named Beale (Bilé), and powerful supernatural
entities. They also try to help their still-living friends- a collection
of Witches, eclectic Pagans, pompous Magicians, Dianics, survivalists, ecologists,
stoned hippies, runaways, teenage hackers, wise Pagan children and wolf
The best stuff involves Tex, a sort of magical Huck Finn on the river of
death, who never fails to be blown away by the whole idea that This
was, after all, the Ultimate Trip. Tex goes through the triple death,
transforms into an acorn, a bear, and several other things. His encounters
with The Morrighan had me laughing breathless- and thinking, yes, I know
this Goddess, this is true-to-life, or, after-life. Molly is a kind of wise
Becky Thatcher, wiser still for having imbibed of the Salmon of Wisdom
How do you do that? she marveled. Some kind of butter
sauce? Is that rosemary? And something tart...
Lying on the platter, the salmon looked dismayed. Molly had a sudden
quirky feeling- a little niggle of intuition, as though she had just
become aware of, you know, everything.
The best thing about Tex and Molly is that youll recognize your friends,
yourself, and the stuff youve got. Tex has an ADF Fast As A Speeding
Oak bumper sticker on his car. Characters read Green Egg, and stacks of
Parabola hold up potted herbs. I kept feeling like Id met these folks,
and, actually, I probably have.
Tex and Molly is a laugh-out-loud book about the afterlife- much, much funnier
than Dantes Divine Comedy- but, in the end, its a book about
the magic of community and of the heart. Read it and tell your friends.
Better yet, give it to your non-Pagan friends who dont understand
why you talk to your weeds before you uproot them.
(Richard Grant is also the author of several more serious books, including
In the Land of Winter, about a welfare Witch fighting for the
custody of her daughter.)
Reviewed by Edwin Chapman