A young man embarks on a spiritual quest of self-healing in Antonovich’s debut novella.
Jamie has had an unthinkably traumatic start to life. He was put up for adoption at an early age, and his adoptive parents were killed in a car crash. As a young man, he “very much feels like a boy” and is searching for a way to address his emotional pain. After leading a teenage life absorbed in extreme sports and music, he feels the need to “tap into the levels of intelligence and navigate the currents of life.” So begins his spiritual odyssey. At first, Jamie explores psychedelic drugs as a way of searching for “a peak experience.” After taking “clearlight acid,” he finds himself communing with an Aboriginal tracker from another era with whom he can communicate telepathically. He also spends an evening in a sweat lodge, where he experiences visions of unparalleled clarity and intensity. He travels, connects with nature, and writes as a form of therapy. This short work attempts to hold a mirror to the unknowable worlds within us and beyond us. Written by a psychology student-cum-yogi author who “currently resides in a transitional incarnation of sorts in the Northern Rivers of NSW Australia,” the book promises a wild esoteric journey. However, descriptions of intense visions, such as those experienced by Jamie in the sweat lodge, are disappointingly safe and bland: “Similar to being submerged in a big tub of marshmallow. Powdercoated buoyancy in anti-gravity, a welcome relief from the pressure of vacuum. A swathe of images from childhood streamed before him as though it were automatic video-graphic playback.” Antonovich never comes close to describing otherworldliness with the richness or zeal of Paulo Coelho, Carlos Castaneda, and the like. This is a brave attempt to capture the nigh uncapturable in words, but it feels half-heartedly short and lacks plot development and descriptive imagination.
Asks spiritual questions but offers little in response.