Finnegan's Quest

Rated 4.80/5 based on 5 reviews
Finnegan, a young fox, seeks a guru. He encounters guides and misguides who warn: Don’t cross the bear, the terror of the woods, and shun the crow with the evil foot. Not listening, Finnegan barges into adventures, ridiculous and dangerous.

This story parodies social, political, and commercial manipulation while taking the reader on the archetypal search for one's purpose in life.

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Words: 67,180
Language: English
ISBN: 9781452325699
About Gloria Piper

When working in biology, I missed art. When working in art, I missed biology. It took a bout of multiple chemical sensitivities to limit me to writing. At last here was a niche in which I felt old-clothes comfortable. At last I could indulge all my interests, from art and science to nature and spirituality, from reality to fantasy. My most recent awards range from honorable mention to editor's choice for my science fiction and fantasy writing.

I live in Northern California with my husband of late years who thinks I'm the most beautiful lady he's ever met and tells me a hundred times a day in a hundred ways how much he loves me.

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Reviews

Review by: Donna Cummins on June 05, 2014 :
Finnegan’s Quest is a tale that sweeps the reader into a magical land where the thread of fantasy is intricately and skillfully woven with that of reality to create a fabric revealing many truths about the society in which we live.

In the story, Finnegan, a young fox, leaves the safety and security of his mother’s home to set out into the world in search of a guru who he expects will teach him the answers to the mysteries of the universe. He imagines that his guru will be big, strong, and mysterious. Full of enthusiasm and expectation, he finds himself in the land of Squiggly Wood. Throughout his travels there, he meets many creatures of the forest, each expressing his or her own viewpoints, opinions, and advice for Finnegan.

Along the way, Finnegan finds true friendship in a crow called Crookshank who is physically disfigured and impaired by one maimed foot. Many of the forest creatures alienate themselves from Crookshank, believing her foot to be evil and used to cast spells upon others. Finnegan discerns for himself that their feelings are unwarranted and untrue, and soon Finnegan and Crookshank become fast friends.

As Finnegan continues to search for his guru, he and Crookshank spend their days together exchanging thoughts and feelings and experiences, and their relationship grows. Crookshank encourages Finnegan to search for his own answers in life by using his own free will.

In the end, Finnegan finally realizes that Crookshank has been his guru all along; and even more importantly, he learns that he never really needed a guru at all—that all he needed to do was look inside himself for true guidance.

I had a bit of difficulty getting into the pace of the story and style of dialogue. More importantly, though, the author’s colorful and authentic descriptive writing and choice of interesting words and phrases paint a vivid picture of both the characters and the forest setting in this almost ‘fable-like’ tale. The analogy is apparent between Finnegan, the young fox, and any young person setting out into our own society seeking independence, self-identity, and the answers to life’s questions. The engrossing narrative teaches us, along with Finnegan, a number of lessons about the society in which we live: People are often unwilling to help or get involved in another person’s problems; not everyone’s word can be trusted; people are often afraid of what they don’t understand; one can’t believe everything he or she hears; don’t allow the negativity of others to discourage you; don’t worry too much about what other people think; take pride in yourself and your accomplishments; be content with yourself; know that prejudice, defamation, stereotyping, and divisiveness are a scourge on society; and, finally, above all else, use and protect your own free will.

A delightful and insightful read!
A copy of this book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Dustin Stevens on Feb. 18, 2014 :
At its most basic level, Finnegan’s Quest is a tale of an earnest young fox out to find his way in the world. Armed only with a list of well-intentioned guidelines from his mother, Finnegan makes his way to Squiggly Woods, a delightful forest home to a wide array of critters, both big and small. Soon upon arrive he meets a wise and sage Crow that helps him maneuver forest life, eventually finding the mentor he’s so desperately been seeking and discovering a great deal about himself along the way.

It doesn’t take long for the reader though to discover that there is much more meaning layered into the story. The author has done a masterful job of creating a societal hierarchy that most everyone can identify with, whether they be in school, work, or even politics. Along the way, she injects problems and issues that all have encountered at some point, making this book relatable to readers of all ages and backgrounds.

The author covers a lot of ground in a limited number of pages, offering thoughts and ideas that everyone can embrace. Highly recommended reading.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Patricia Hamill on Dec. 06, 2013 :
Full length novel, but reads like a fable. Beautiful language use. Well edited.

I love the easy and humorous way this story is told, while still communicating a deeper message.
Finnegan's Quest is like Animal Farm, but more entertaining. There's a mystery to solve and Finnegan and Crookshank are well on their way to solving it.

Young Finnegan, leaving home for the first time, believes his mother's lessons are just fine for a kit, but he's fully grown now and such things like "don't talk to strangers" and "pay attention" just won't cut it. Nope, he's in the market for a great teacher, a guru who can unlock the mysteries of life and the universe. Someone glorious and strong and impressive. Someone like Duh Fuz, the most fearsome beast of Squiggly Wood. But Spirit has someone else in mind for Finnegan's guru...

Crookshank is an old crow with a gimpy leg, compliments of a run in with Duh Fuz in her younger days, but you won't find her complaining. Though it's crooked, occassionally achy and not much good for walking, her leg is in tune with the vibrations of the universe. A useful gift that gives her insight into the world and her fellow critters. And sometimes, if she listens just right, she can tune right into the guiding voice of Spirit.

Finnegan and Crookshank as student and teacher are a great duo. Finnegan is naive and optimistic, but is beset on every side by those who would lead him to harm, to self-deprecation, to chain letters, and to get rich quick scams. He becomes the focal point of Squiggly Woods as critters from all walks of life work to convince him that their way is best, that their leader is all-knowing and that only by following can happiness be gained. But luckily for Finnegan, Crookshank is there for him. Her quick wit and timely interventions don't make Finnegan think like her, but they do help him learn to think for himself and recognize when things aren't what they seem to be.

The rest of the characters in this tale are equal parts cautionary and entertaining. The city rat who walks with a twitch because it's in. The whirly gigs who twirl until they are dizzy and moan "woe is me" at the results. Buford the bullfrog preacher. Duh Fuz, the terror of the wood. And Dame Squeeze, a ferret who has it all figured out. And I love how even the smallest of characters brings a valuable lesson.

I knew I loved this book only a few paragraphs in and though some of the lessons in it are tough or touch on serious issues like religious fanaticism, drug abuse, and predatory marketing, all were delivered in a whimsical and enriching way. The messages and warnings are there, but the storytelling is brilliant and lyrical.

As for the quality of the writing, it's excellent. The pacing, the flow, the plot: everything works. The story is obviously well-edited and well-planned. I found only one error in the whole thing, and I was looking for them. I've read best sellers with more than that.

Overall, I loved this book. It's one of those books that I know I'll return to many times, worth reading again and again because there will always be some new thing to discover with each retelling. I highly recommend this story to those who enjoy allegory, animal characters, humor, and enrichment.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest, non-reciprocal review.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Laura Libricz on Nov. 17, 2012 :
Finnegan's Quest is a poetic, well-written story about a fox on a journey into the world to look for a guru. He stumbles on all sorts of 'critters' who mirror society and the relationships between the different ranks. I don't like to compare books, but this was a sort of 'Animal Farm' meets 'Jonathan Livingston Seagull.'

The phrasing is lyrical, the comparisons are original and refreshing. It's meant to be read and re-read. I can imagine a high school teacher using this book in an upper-level English class. It would be great as an audio book. My favorite scene was in the chicken coop.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Sandra Rector on Sep. 27, 2012 :
So much to enjoy about this book. First there is a lot to learn about life as the main character goes on a quest to find a guru. What he learns along the way is extremely valuable. Second, this book has a beautiful, original, poetic quality in the descriptions of the natural world and third, it was just plain fun to read as the author did a great job of describing each animal's unique personality. A great book to read out loud to a young person and if you're an older person, a good book to read to yourself.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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