November 08, 2011
A young American scholar and seeker journeys through India searching for greater spiritual truth—this may sound reminiscent of the 60s, but this novel is contemporary and compelling. Justin is a twenty-four year old who has just completed a year in Sri Lanka as a Fullbright scholar, and now he is taking some personal time to travel through India and Nepal. The story opens on a train to New Delhi; I was immediately captivated by the vivid and realistic writing about the landscape and cultural nuances, and vicariously began my own journey. As his armchair companion I enjoyed youthful spontaneity and adventure (and some danger as well), candid discussions and curiosity about American culture and the modern conflict with Islam, and the universal impulse to find our place in the world. The author manages to bring martial arts, Eastern religions, spiritual philosophies, new age healing arts, tantra, shamanism and much more into this spiritual adventure, and does so effortlessly. Based in large part on the author’s personal experiences, this story is intense, exotic, intimate, and informative: a healthy and inspiring blend of heart and mind. At over 500 pages this is a hefty novel, but one well worth reading.