“And as man is composed of the four
elements, so also is the stone,
and so it is [dug] out of man, and you
are its ore, namely by working;
and from you it is extracted, namely by division –
and in you it remains inseparably, namely through science.”
Eitan Olevsky’s The Stone Collector is like a cross between Neil Gaiman, Umberto Eco, Jorge Luis Borges, and Paul Coelho. Part murder mystery, part mythic fantasy, part conspiracy theory, part social satire, this truly eccentric novel is built around the notion of seven stones that are as much curses as blessings, with a cast of characters that include a devout rabbi, a sexy newscaster, a socially awkward college student, a professional hit man, a drug lord, and an archaeological assistant. The powers they gain (to kill, to heal, to travel through mirrors, to transmute matter, to speak to spirits, and to make things grow) all come with a cost, as if the stones themselves were linked to the aspect of the psyche that each of the dramatis personae most need to confront and transform.
Indeed, that’s the charm of this perceptive little book. In telling an apparently fantastical tale about eastern and western alchemy, Atlantis, and the Mythraic Mysteries, it probes relentlessly at our human foibles – our insecurities, our vanities, our regrets, our desires. The text, riddled with esoteric clues in the form of names, folk legends and mythological references, and of symbols drawn from the animal world and the elements, brings together the eschatological and psychological archetypes of world culture. The intricately planned chapters can be read, and reread, at many levels, as the plot thickens, the pace quickens, and the interwoven strands begin to feel like double helices.
For this reader, the stones themselves were mesmerizing, ushering the imagination through a process of inner alchemy, as the groups of chapters activated issues in ways that superimposed the seven chakra wheels of the tantric/yogic system on the Vitruvian Man of the Renaissance… all this, yet always with a wink at the familiar ego formations that make life such an absurd mess, proving that if there’s a young master in this story, it just might be Olevsky himself.
Eitan Olevsky was born in 1981 in Lima, Peru. His knack for story-telling began at the early age of four, pestering his parents with sleepless nights of fairy tale readings. At five, he was reading Brothers Grimm and La Fontaine, fables imbued in wisdom and magic that would come to show his early fascination for the fantasy genre.
His first attempt at writing a novel was at the age of eight with The Legend of the Magic Wand, which he managed to finish three years later. In 2002, Eitan won first prize at UPC’s “Juegos Florales”, a literary contest from the university where he was studying, with a satire that mocked university life itself. Later, in 2005, he published the satirical novel, El Gran Maestro. Olevsky’s Gran Maestro shows a crazy collection of individuals, portraying with dark humor galore, their lifestyles in Peru during the estranged decade of the 80s and 90s.
You can read the book here: The Stone Collector