Cover image for Angels & aliens : a journey west
Angels & aliens : a journey west
Morris, Mary, 1947-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Picador USA, 1999.
Physical Description:
258 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3563.O87445 Z465 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Angels & Aliensis Mary Morris's long-awaited memoir, confirming her status as a master of the genre. InAngels & Aliens, Mary Morris once again explores her experiences as a woman on the road, this time as a single parent, wandering with her daughter through Southern California and struggling to make it on her own. Posing as a believer, Morris infiltrates New Age groups, flies as an angel through the Crystal Cathedral, and becomes a member of the earth-based unit of the Ashtar command. As her relationship with her baby's father unravels and she is confronted with personal and financial setbacks, Morris tries to understand how other people cope with their lives, and places these systems of coping withing the broader context of American culture. Written with humor and hope, this travel memoir is both a life-affirming story of one woman's journey through the emotional terrain of the heart, and a clear-eyed journalist's account of the true nature of California as a state of exodus, home to sun seekers, spiritual believers, and cults. Combining her gift as a story teller, which is apparent in her fiction, and the powerful sense of place she brings to her nonfiction, Morris gives us a traveler's tale for the millennium when there's no place to go but up.

Author Notes

Mary Morris: teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and daughter.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

"Belief is something I've left behind," writes Morris (Nothing to Declare), who teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence. "I've been a Jew, a Buddhist, a believer, a doubter. But lately I haven't given much thought to any of this." Yet, an improbable odyssey in California restores Morris to a kind of belief. Facing 40 and pregnant, Morris finds out the hard way that her lover, Jeremy, a distinguished professor of international law 20 years her senior and the divorced father of two, is reluctant to commit to a second marriage. In this rambling but ultimately engaging memoir, the author provides an account of her life after she moves from New York to Orange County, Calif., with baby Kate to live in a rented bungalow overlooking Main Beach. She describes the daily tedium of waiting by the phone for Jeremy's call, unable to pull away or to believe her lover's (as it happens, false) assurances that there is no one else. Beset by financial problems exacerbated by Jeremy's failure to provide child support, Morris assuages her loneliness by visiting nearby spiritual communities. A bad back drives her to the Edenic Light Center, where a teacher heals her aura. Morris also encounters a UFO abductee support group, and she becomes involved with "light workers" who predict the end of the world. She finally extricates herself from Jeremy, who tacitly acknowledges his true feelings by legally relinquishing parental rights to little Kate. In this quietly introspective book, Morris views the New Age advocates she meets with a refreshing degree of nonjudgmental objectivity and a sense that their quest for certainty is similar to her own. Throughout, her prose is as clear and well composed as her insights. Agent, Ellen Levine. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Main Beachp. 1
Crystalsp. 19
Hour of Powerp. 41
The Ring of Firep. 63
Angelsp. 81
Freewaysp. 103
Death Valleyp. 127
The Desert Miragep. 143
The Dream Factoryp. 157
Natural Disastersp. 177
Abductionsp. 195
Project Evacuationp. 219
Recovered Memoryp. 237
The New Agep. 247