Saturday, April 15, 2006

Illusions: The adventures of a reluctant Messiah

I read this book when I was 17 and it changed my life. I know a book should never replace your thinking but there are some statements that you hear once and everything you ever thought is
transformed forever. This book is full of statements like that.

At a story level, this is about the writer's encounter with a modern-day spiritual guru, a Buddha or Christ dropping into the twentieth century in a sparkling new biplane. Yes, Bach is an aviator first and a writer second, so be prepared for long descriptions and titbits about flying and aircrafts. The metaphors work well though. The verbal bantering between the two of them is light enough to make the book an interesting read and profound enough to give you something to think about every time you read it.

Oddly enough this isn't his most popular book. Johnathon Livingston Seagull (also a fantastic book) is perhaps better-loved and more widely read. This could be because the ideas that Bach propounds are set in a more fantasy setting which makes it seem like you are reading a semi-fairytale. Illusions, on the other hand gives you a something chilling, sometimes ecstatic feeling when you read and wonder...could this be true?

Illusions is full of quotable quotes. My favorite one is

The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy.
What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.

For a curiosity factor, this is also probably the only book ever, to end with a comma. Possibly the best thing about this book is that it talks about deep ideas, about life, love, the world, frienship and all such things we all ponder about. And it does it in a light-hearted, 'enjoy yourself while at it' kind of way. Read the book, you're really missing something if you haven't.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was my first book by Bach. It is very good. "ONE" by Back again is another good book...
Thanks for reminding me of this book.


4:06 PM  
Blogger ligne said...

talk about timing :) I just bought a used copy of Jonathan Livingston because I wanted to read it again..:)
figure I will check out illusions as well.

9:54 PM  
Blogger littlecow said...

And someone *stole* my copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull in champaign and I have been ruing it ever since. It is someone I know very well as otherwise, I would never have lent it. Burf.

I love Bach but liked Seagull better - more depth and passion.

11:11 PM  

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