Mirrored in the Caves
A novel by Barbara D. Janusz
When Elizabeth Thiessen embarks on an expedition to study the cave murals of Baja California, Mexico, she is catapulted onto a mythical, existential journey into the unknown. Within days of landing in the Baja, Elizabeth discovers that her daughter, Patricia – posted in Afghanistan with the Canadian armed forces – is taken hostage by the Taliban. Elizabeth struggles with her decision to remain on assignment, her extreme anxiety over her daughter’s hostage-taking and the recollections it prompts of her conflicted relationship with her father, a Holocaust survivor. Her psychological fragility is pushed to the brink by the field expedition’s physical hardships, and intensified by her romantic involvement with Richard Wellington – one of seven of the international team of anthropologists commissioned to study the pictographs.
Believed to have been painted over 4,000 years ago by a tribe of nomadic hunter-gatherers, the murals, embodied within a cave overhang, in the Sierra de San Francisco mirror Elizabeth’s personal crisis, and eventually help her overcome her mounting feelings of helplessness and despair. On a personal level Elizabeth is compelled to realize that if her daughter survives her ordeal, like her father, Stanislaw, she will no longer be the same person. As the nomadic painters so aptly depicted in the cave murals millenia ago, there is only certainty in the life cycle repeating itself.
About the Author
Barbara D. Janusz is a mother, an environmentalist, a lawyer, poet and an educator. A graduate from the University of Alberta, Barbara holds degrees in Political Science and Law, has practiced law and taught law and management at SAIT Polytechnique and Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta. Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, she has also lived on the west coast of British Columbia, in Paris, France and La Paz, BCS, Mexico. A contributing writer for Alternatives Journal: Canada’s Environmental Voice, she has published poetry, short stories, editorials, and essays in Fast Forward, carteblanche, Our Times, House of Blue Skies, Pages of Stories, WestWord, WildLands Advocate, Calgary Outdoor Magazine, Forum, Tower Poetry Society Press and other magazines, literary journals, newspapers and anthologies across Canada. Mirrored in the Caves is her first novel.