Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pose Prose

Enlightenment for idiots:  a novel. 
By Anne Cushman

I am a student of yoga (a perpetual beginner) and am always looking for good fiction on this subject.  This novel is one of my favorites:  light but not silly; intelligent but not ponderous.  The protagonist, Amanda, is a young yoga teacher who also freelances as a writer for a 'dummies' book series. She is charged with traveling to India to research the 'simple' project of reaching enlightenment.  Her editor suggests she research it and write it in a few months:  it's a hot topic and she needs it finished soon!

Amanda, is self-deprecating and witty, but is having serious problems with a boyfriend who won't commit.  In India she encounters many crazy and interesting people and meets and becomes close to an American traveler, Devi Das.  Devi is a true enlightment seeker but is also a sweet and supportive friend to Amanda.  Local interest note:  the author characterizes him as having been a religious studies student at KU! Amanda and Devi travel through India, from one guru and ashram to another in order to investigate various paths to enlightenment.  (All of the adventures are entertaining, but the tantric yoga episode is especially funny.)

The author, Anne Cushman is a contributing editor to Yoga Journal and Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, and is the author of From here to Nirvana:  the Yoga Journal Guide to spiritual India, so she knows her stuff.

How Amanda manages travel in chaotic India, comes to terms with her confused personal relationships, and finds her own version of enlightenment makes for an easy, but rewarding read.

Tricia - Tech Services

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