The title of Rosmarie Bogner's debut novel, "Kiri Chooses a Life," is wildly appropriate for the daughter of ski-fashion pioneers Maria and Willy Bogner Sr. She, too, chose a life, after being sent to Idaho 30 years ago from her home in Germany, to sell ski pants at the Pete Lane's sports shop in Sun Valley. A few years later, she returned and "ended up in a log cabin where I still am," she said.
The book, essentially a fantasy, is a modern tale of spiritual growth grounded in the ideas and concepts culled from several ancient myths.
Eleven-year-old Kiri spends the summers at her grandmother's ranch in Wyoming. Although life is idyllic, issues arise. First, her grandfather's spirit appears to her, then her mother—a preoccupied career woman—neglects her, and then something odd happens. She finds she can fly and lands in another world, called Internity. Assisted by a spirit named Ivy and the company of other children, Kiri slowly comes to realize she had an accident and is dead. The children apparently are in a kind of limbo holding area, waiting for the day they can be reincarnated. As the tale proceeds, they struggle through various experiences in which they learn to understand their desires, faults and strengths so that when they choose a new life they do so wisely.
The book, among other lofty ideas, posits the question: Is it possible to choose the life you were born into? Referencing Ian Stevenson, the founder of scientific research on reincarnation, Bogner said she wrote the book as a way of "giving back" and to "clarify my own belief system."
There are so many things going on in this book that it is worth a second or third read. However, it's not a book for younger children, due to some complicated situations. Though it ends on a highly positive note, there is a degree of sadness as these children face what has and is happening to them.
Bogner has a strong passion for the points she presents.
"It is about celebrating life, rather than death," she said. "But it can be read on a couple levels—adventure, mythology, psychology."
Bogner, who is a documentary filmmaker and former fashion photographer, has never written in English before. German and French are the languages she expresses herself in, in all but speech. She received her doctorate at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Psychology of the Environment.
The writing of the book, which took five years, totally engrossed her, she said. She wrote eight hours a day, which she admitted was "not very healthy. It's like you're in a dream."
In fact, "Kiri Chooses a Life" encompasses a dreamlike narrative with unexpected twists, new characters, faceless beings and flights of fancy. Bogner may have felt it was unhealthy, her way of writing, but she's accomplished something remarkable nonetheless: a personal and adventurous thesis on death and dying.
Chapter One Book Event
Author Rosmarie Bogner presents her debut novel, "Kiri Chooses a Life," 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday, July 23. There will be coffee and muffins offered. Chapter One is located on Main Street in Ketchum.