The Once Upon a Time of Now | Critical Book Review

The Once Upon a Time of Now by Hope West embarks on a metaphysical journey, intertwining the exploration of the inner world with the rich tapestry of Hindu mythology. Erica Ball delves into the heart of this Friesen Press novel, sharing insights into a narrative that seeks to unravel the mysteries of existence.


Adventures with Agnes and G

Agnes, a spirited young girl with a penchant for collecting small treasures, takes center stage in this mystical odyssey. Partnered with her stuffed elephant companion, G, Agnes finds herself whisked away to a magical forest, encountering a myriad of extraordinary beings. The duo embarks on a quest to a mysterious Lost Temple, navigating strange lands that serve as the backdrop for their profound journey of self-discovery and transformation.


Lessons from the Hindu Pantheon

West populates the novel’s universe with characters drawn from the Hindu pantheon, each imparting ancient wisdom to the band of friends. From storytelling to metaphors and specific meditations, the characters guide Agnes and G through a transformative experience. Readers unfamiliar with Hindu traditions will find a helpful guide at the book’s conclusion, shedding light on the characters, concepts, and traditions woven into the narrative.


Characters and Transformations

Agnes, a lovable and relatable protagonist, evolves through interactions with mystical creatures, discovering truths about herself and the universe. Notably, G undergoes a mysterious and epic transformation, adding layers of wonder to the narrative. The characters’ growth is intricately intertwined with the vivid, lush, and evocative descriptions provided by the author.


Pace, Style, and Reader Recommendations

The book’s shorter chapters encourage a deliberate, almost poetic reading pace. West’s narrative style, while rich in imagery and supernatural concepts, may challenge some readers with its at-times rapid switches between descriptive metaphors. This makes the book a recommended read for those who appreciate unconventional story structures and deep contemplation of spiritual themes.


A Celebration of Existence

The Once Upon a Time of Now transcends the bounds of a conventional narrative. It offers a timeless exploration of the inward journey, rooted in ancient traditions. The story is a celebration of curiosity, creativity, persistence, and courage, resonating with the common impulses shared by all living beings. Delving into the mystery of existence, West’s work is a poignant reflection on the improbable miracle of being alive.

Publisher, Genre, Print Length, and ISBN

PublisherGenrePrint LengthISBN
Friesen PressLiterary & General Fiction / Metaphysical306 pages9781039167889

The Once Upon a Time of Now by Hope West embarks on a metaphysical journey, intertwining the exploration of the inner world with the rich tapestry of Hindu mythology. Erica Ball delves into the heart of this Friesen Press novel, sharing insights into a narrative that seeks to unravel the mysteries of existence. Adventures with…