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Surviving the world as it presents itself to you
on March 27, 2010
While I would give the author's writing ability a "5", and his use of symbolism a "4", the storyline itself only receives a "1". I view the writing of this novel as similar to asking Rembrandt, himself, to paint your house. He may do an exquisite job but it will still only be a house and never the masterpiece that you had hoped for.
In his story of fantasy, the author shows that the human spirit can adjust to any and all conditions and still survive and, at times, even thrive. While the protagonist lives in India he is the son of a zoo keeper and, being so, has the means to develop his religious life. He does so by belonging to three different religions at the same time. When the well known shipwreck with the tiger occurs he must shift his focus of ethereal living to that of mere survival. He must learn to suffer pain and extreme suffering, feed his instinctual hungers, defend himself from the varying forces around him and seek the safest position(s), both literally and figuratively, in order to survive. Fantasies and delirium eventually force him to face his irrationalities and to escape before they overtake him. And, finally, with his recontact with civilization he needs to refuse to do what the predetermined investigators expect him to do and, by doing so, leaves with his full ego intact while satisfying their needs at the same time.
While the allegory of this book is very compelling, I feel that because of the author's innate writing ability a masterpiece could have been written by approaching these issues in a different manner. Instead, we are left with only a well painted house but no masterpiece. None of us, no matter how well educated we are nor how many books we have read, enjoy reading about the 'entrails of life itself'. Death of human and animal life, cannibalism, excrement, urine-marking, and rotting decay are not pleasant topics to peruse in order to understand the author's symbolism. And lastly, even in fairly tales and stories of pure fantasy, consistency of plot and events is a necessity. This one fails in that area a few too many times. I feel that the author, because of his abilities, has tremendous innate capabilities. Please, next time, I hope that he focuses on a more palatable storyline to follow.