2 out of 4 stars
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Cause and effect, and to a lesser extent instinctive knowledge, plays a major role in this story, Memories of a Synchronistic Gap Year, by Andrew Cole. One day outside his flat, Cole met an old man who appeared stranded and in need of some help. At once, Cole reached out and welcomed him to his flat for a cup of tea. The man, however, declined his offer, and instead, he told Cole that he needed a ticket to go back home to Poland, as his science teaching job had lapsed. Cole took him to a nearby café for a meal, while he contemplated how he’d obtain a ticket for him. Even though he appeared to Cole as famished, Marian didn’t touch a morsel of the food that had been offered to him. And even stranger, he appeared to have been smiling quietly to himself.
Marian’s oddities triggered a wave of thoughts in Cole’s mind. For a start, he remembered a newspaper article he’d read some time back about someone called Marian. As an avid reader of the Bhagavad Gita, the Koran, the Bible, and philosophical books, including the writings of Carl Jung, Cole was familiar with the concept of synchronicity, which is that level of collective consciousness that points people to their mission in life. The newspaper article had talked about a reward that’d come to anyone who’ll chance upon Marian in real life. One particular day while Cole was contemplating deeply on the nature of Marian’s reward, he stumbled upon a verse (sutra) in the Bhagavad Gita that encouraged “giving up expectation of rewards as a way of more clearly seeing the truth.”
What I found most appealing in this story was the journey Cole took after being inspired by the verse. I was able to identify with his spiritual search because of my spiritual wanderings. Once when I got my first bonus cheque after joining the corporate world, I decided to take a trip to Uganda to experience the famed (but endangered) gorillas in their natural habitat. On the way to the park, though, my Ugandan host began speaking highly of the spiritual significance of the nearby Namugongo Shrine, which is the venue several young Ugandans were martyred towards the end of the 19th Century. Standing at that place, I couldn’t help thinking about the faith that drove the young men to their death so early. As a result, I found the deepest part of my being yearning for spiritual fulfillment.
Like Cole, I found myself visiting a few spiritual establishments and reading all manner of literature. Cole’s soul searching, even so, led him to mental torment and psychopathy. And it’s at that point I found a weakness in Cole’s storyline. I found it incredible that a sane individual would interact with Cole, while he’s exhibiting signs of mental instability, and fail to refer him to a mental hospital for help. A case in point is where Cole tells his big sister, Sheila, that there is an object in the sky reading his thoughts. Given that this was the first time Cole was visiting his sister after a long time, I expected Sheila to react empathetically or show a little bit of more concern to his brother's plight. Instead, his sister just dismissed the incident as “frightening.”
However, the crown for dumbness was reserved for Mr. Kumar, a British High Commission official at the New Delhi office, who asked Cole whether he’d like to be taken to the hospital when he was brought in with a serious case of delirium.
As I finish, the novel has a lot of editing errors, which made it seem not to have been professionally edited. The errors I identified were mostly run-on sentences. And because of the two identified weaknesses, I rate the novel 2 out of 4 stars. Lastly, I recommend the novel to fellow book nerds, as it’ll highlight one of the biggest innovations to ever have taken place in the field of telepathy. On the flip side, it’s less suited to readers who are turned off by homosexual references.
Memories of a Synchronistic Gap Year
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