This blog will touch on the experiences I have as a writer (not to be mistaken for my experience as a writer, i.e. how many books I've written, etc); the pleasure and the pain, the joy and the grief, the satisfaction and the frustration, the magic and the reality - have I left anything out, oh yeah, the rejection, rejection and more rejection, the humiliation and the embarrassment, the jealousy and the resentment - that pretty much covers it, except for why I do it which perhaps I'll realize along the way. Are you totally confused? Good, let's begin.
Max is a determined guy. The son of an impoverished, immigrant, single mother living in the war zone that is the South Bronx he manages to survive and prosper getting scholarships to ivy league schools.
Before you know it he's pulling down the big bucks working for a private equity firm on Wall Street.
When his mother dies, Max experiences one of those "what's life all about" moments and an unlikely conversation with an Indian food cart owner sends him on a spiritual quest to the Himalayas.
Right about here, that would be page thirty, I'm about ready to abandon The Yoga of Max's Discontent. Though well-written and fast paced the opening is a cliché and do I really want to read the male version of Elizabeth Gilbert's specious Love, Eat, Pray?
However, author Karan Bajaj is Indian so maybe (I hope) his story will become more original once his protagonist reaches more familiar terrain.
Max's journey through the sub-continent searching for a guru to teach him the road to enlightenment is enhanced by memorable characters and stunning imagery. His internal journey to see "the unborn, un-aging, un-ailing, sorrowless, and deathless face-to-face" is fascinating.
Despite dealing with mystical concepts and practices, this reader never found it didactic though it might not appeal to those looking for romance and high-adventure.
As Max's travails increase and transcendence continues to elude him I actually became concerned with how Bajaj would end this novel.
Would the author renounce all his remarkable insight, seemingly authentic experience and intensive research to accommodate a Hollywood ending? Would the novel be bookended by clichés?
He doesn't. It isn't.
The ending is brilliant, appropriate, even inspiring and, I have to say, somewhat courageous on the part of the author.
There are books for different times of your life. The Yoga of Max's Discontent resonated for me, now.