Youth Without Youth Paperback – Nov 30 2007
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About the Author
Mac Linscott Ricketts is professor emeritus of philosophy and religion at Louisburg College.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is a thriller, love story and the "Butterfly Dream" philosophy of the Chinese philosopher, Zhuangzi(Chuang-tzu) - the dream-like nature of reality - all wrapped into one.
This thoughtful and insightful work has now been adapted for the screen in 2007 by the award-winning Francis Ford Coppola of the "Godfather" fame, his latest and most defining film in almost ten years. I have great hopes that Coppola, the dependable and talented producer/director and Tim Roth, an excellent and highly intelligent actor/director who takes his art/craft with utmost gravity (playing the leading role Dominic Matei) will do justice to this exquisite book. Whatever you do, don't miss the book and the film!
This book attempts to meld eastern mysticism with western science and poses many questions which go unanswered. Yet all of the philosophical attributes are infused with early second world war history, Nazi scientists, hidden documents, intrigue with a beautiful spy for the Gestapo, miraculous recoveries and ancient languages. Reincarnation is also involved, which supplies enough romance to make the story a story rather than a vehicle for the writer's own philosophy.
The protagonist, Dominic Matei, is a former language professor who experiences what is referred to as the "rejuvenation by electricity" as a very old man and becomes young again just as he is on his way out of his home country, Romania. The reasons for his decision to leave turn out to be tragic, then fortuitous and ultimately, sensational. Years after his experience, he falls in love with a young woman who reminds him of an earlier love and who, after having been struck by lightning, is able to speak in ancient but heretofore unknown foreign tongues. This thrust into ancient times even before the Buddha, comes towards the end of the book - certainly within the last one third and well after we've seen the results of our hero's own transformation.
There is much rich philosophical material here, that I admittedly need to do some additional research as to content - first, on the philosophy of Chantrakirti, next, the Butterfly Dream as presented by Chunang Tzu and then, the philosophy of Nietzsche, whose theories apparently coincide with the ancient Chunang Tzu. The "double" is introduced in the book as well (I call it the "doppleganger"), as is reincarnation, a theory I'm extremely comfortable with. At last, I would like to read more of Mircea Eliade's own work including "The Sacred and the Profane," "Shamanism," and "The History of Religious Ideas."
So, my three and a half stars is directed towards the literary merit of the story which I found unnecessarily difficult to follow, and four stars for the challenge in the material which, I have to admit, I find irresistible in any writing.
I may change my review upon the second reading.