MOST HOLY MAN by Ken Noyle


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Banal, melodramatic mysticism from the author of The Geisha Diary (1976)--but somewhat redeemed by the portrait of Sai Rama (modeled on the real-life Sai Baba), an Indian who presents himself as an avatar descended from God. Psychiatrist Martin Roamer finds himself sexually drawn to his new patient Sonja Ross, a widow with a retarded son--but after Sonja's suicide attempt leads to romance, she then succeeds at killing herself. And Roamer thus finds himself the executor of Sonja's will--which leaves a large sum to the Sai Rama ashrams. Soon, then, Roamer is flying to India to deliver the big check, only to find that the avatar is away in Africa. So he settles down in a hotel near the Sai Rama ashram and quickly falls in love with Daphne Cooper, a pregnant Anglo-Indian half-caste who wants to become an ashram nurse. Rama shows up at last; Roamer gradually comes to believe in Rama the avatar, who brings one man back from the dead, then saves Daphne by taking her fatal illness onto himself and surviving it. And there's a dreadful hijacking finale. Pretty dreadful overall, in fact--but the Sai Rama/Baba material may interest the mystically inclined (though Baba biographies by H. Murphet or A. Schulman are far more informative).

Pub Date: May 1st, 1982
Publisher: Donning