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A Free, Unsullied Land

a novel by Maggie Kast

Nineteen-year-old Henriette Greenberg takes her first steps away from an abusive home on the dance floor of a Chicago jazz dive in prohibition-era Chicago and is enraptured by this new music. Struggling to escape a mother who doesn’t like girls and a father who likes young women all too well, she submerges herself in bad sex and political action. She meets and falls in love with Dilly Brannigan, a graduate student in anthropology. Ignoring his warnings, she travels to Scottsboro, Alabama to protest the unfair conviction of nine young black men accused of rape. She adopts Dilly’s work as her own. A powerful funeral ritual gives her hope of re-writing her family story but tempts her to violate an Apache taboo, endangering her life, her love, and her longed-for escape from home.

Book Cover, The Crack between the Worlds

The Crack between the Worlds

a dancer’s memoir of loss, faith, and family

a novel by Maggie Kast

A car crashes, and Maggie Kast, at the peak of a modern dance career, loses a three-year-old daughter. Raised without religion and now mired in grief, she senses a persistent connection to the little girl, a love somehow more powerful than the brute fact of death. This awareness leads her, over three years, to the Catholic Church. After the accident, her marriage is greatly stressed by the entrance of religion into married life, and she and her husband each accuse the other of being too religious or too secular at various times. Despite conflict, dialogue keeps the marriage intimate and vital.

Following study of liturgy at Catholic Theological Union, she teaches and tours sacred dance nationally and internationally, exploring the arts as a spiritual path. Moving forward and looking back at once, she discovers early hints of religious experience in childhood celebrations, encounters with art, and marriage. Her husband dies. Now a single parent of a ten-year-old and a developmentally disabled teen-ager, as well as college-aged sons, she continues a faithful search for understanding.