Changing History by How Kuff
A genre-spanning philosophical novel
A radical look at basic ways of thinking and acting that shape our current affairs      

The first chapter, One House, opens the outer ‘ frame ’ tale when a group of seven international travelers meet in a freak October blizzard in a wild area of the Himalayan Mountains. They wander aimlessly looking for shelter and nearing exhaustion stumble upon a Tibetan teahouse. The host appears and invites the group to come inside, where they share the teahouse with a traveling monk and nun also taking refuge from the storm. In the ensuing conversations, the travelers reveal bits and pieces of their backgrounds and the Tibetans share insights into the beliefs, history and culture of Tibet. The seven travelers are drawn to question the simultaneity and randomness of the encounter and decide to pass the night telling stories about circumstances and events that led each to the present time and place.

Chapter 2, One Life, is the story of Ellie, a teenage girl living on a homestead in the mountains with her parents and sister. Ellie is frustrated with life on the farm and her limited options. She finds comfort in the wildness of the forest and begins taking long solitary journeys into the woods. Her parents become increasingly alarmed as she develops a deep bond with nature and refuses to accept the roles that her parents have imagined for her. Confronted by them and the leaders of their temple she struggles with the conflict between humans and nature and the juxtaposition of good and evil into the realness of the nighttime forest.

One and Only, the third chapter is the story of Ray a confused boy seeking personal identity, direction and meaning. Ray becomes disillusioned with, and angry about what he sees as the senseless nature of his school and the working life awaiting him. He continually finds fault with the rules and customs of his society, and is determined to be different and not become part of the status quo. His attitude and rebellious nature lead him to confrontation and begin to define him as he who refuses to be defined.

Chapter 4, As One, is the story of two lovers, Lana and Raz, who leave their home and families to explore the world. Traveling by the grace of others while looking for a new life on the open road, they meet several powerful individuals who propel them to question the nature of freedom. They ponder the connections between past and present actions (Karma), and the relationships between personal activities and society-at-large. Lamenting the apparent loss of their easy go lucky freedom, they struggle with their newfound power and awareness and attempt to come to terms with the inherent existential responsibility of consciousness.

The fifth chapter, One Mind, is the story of Karyn, a mathematician recently out of graduate school, employed by a military contractor designing bomb and missile guidance systems. Though told that she is a great patriot, she is increasingly frustrated with the nature of her job and feels isolated from the results of her work. One morning on the way into work, Karyn is confronted by demonstrators yelling about her contribution to the continuation of war. Unsure of the direction of her life and work, and reflecting back upon the idealism of her school years, she ponders the relationships between education, the marketplace and government… eventually leading to questioning her responsibility and supporting role in the cycles of violence.

Chapter 6, One of Us, is the story of Lorraine, a woman forsaken by a once-in-a-lifetime love at a young age, who has immersed herself into the working life of a teen counselor. After nearly two decades of denial and withdraw, she opens again to love and the transitory nature of romance.

The seventh chapter, One World, is the tale of Cibi, a shepherd in a traditional rural village whose life is inexorably changed when the village water supply is consumed by nearby mining operations. The world economy is overcoming his country pushing traditional livelihoods out of existence. His government welcomes the new economy and offers little relief to those dispossessed. As the social unrest and violent conflicts expand, he seeks to understand the nature of greed and violence, struggling with the inevitable forces of history and the nature of personal action.

Chapter 8, One Love, is a brief look into the life and mind of the enemy… illustrating the power of religious belief to metamorphose poverty and despair into acts of unspeakable violence.

In the final chapter, One Wheel, the seven travelers return to the question of the randomness of their encounter and the reasons for their life circumstances. They begin to see relationships and commonality within the stories, and struggle against their (impossible) desire to understand what has occurred. The monk and nun share insight and history, which prompts the travelers to look further into the root causes of human behavior. They grapple with meaning and value in the quite different picture of humanity that evolves before them, culminating in an extraordinary group experience from which each character exits into a new life.