An American Mystic ($24.95; Mar.; 288 pp.; 0-670-88296-8): Psychotherapist Gurian (The Good Son, 1999) offers his
debut novel, a rather mushy account in the tradition of The Razor’s Edge, describing a young man’s search for enlightenment.
Our hero, Ben Brickman, is an American student in Paris. Badly stalled on his psychology thesis (the subject is divine
hallucinations), Ben knocks about Paris somewhat aimlessly, performing magic tricks on the street and suffering a series of
increasingly strange dreams at home. Eventually he meets Josef Kader, a mystic and scholar who invites Ben to travel to Kader’s
native land of Turkey. There, in coastal towns along the Aegean Sea, hundreds of people have experienced strange hallucinations
prophesying the advent of a savior (called "the Magician"), who promises to reveal himself at the dawn if the 21st century. Ben
accepts the invitation and leaves for the small Turkish island of Lobos, where he undergoes a succession of ten trials on his path
to enlightenment. Well-conceived and written with real style and grace, but altogether too hokey in the end.