A Millennial Search: The Yoga of Max's Discontent - Book Review and Author Interview
Another one of my articles published on Impakter, the magazine for Millennials:
TIGHT AND SLACK – A MILLENNIAL SEARCH
CLAUDE FORTHOMMEon May 3, 2016 at 6:02 PM
Life Models: “Tight and Slack” and the Search for Transcendence.
Karan Bajaj Talks about Life and his Latest Novel “The Yoga of Max’s Discontent”, published by Riverhead Books/Penguin House, out on 3 May 2016
Book Review and Author Interview
A book about man’s quest for himself, The Yoga of Max’s Discontent, is a book you should read, for many reasons.
IN THE PHOTO: MOUNT VERNON AND THE BRONX – END OF THE 2 LINE AT 241 ST AND MOUNT VERNON
First, an arresting premise: the main character, Max, a tall, young man in his late twenties, is the personification of the American dream – from the dark despair of the Bronx projects where he was born to the glitter of Wall Street. A first-generation immigrant, there’s no father in the family, just a sister and a mother, a Greek woman who earns a meagre living from housecleaning and sacrifices herself to see her children educated. He manages to win fellowships to the best schools, gets a Harvard degree and lands a highly paid job on Wall Street. His mother dies, the American dream falls apart.
IN THE PHOTO: HARVARD UNIVERSITY WIDENER LIBRARY
Second, a remarkably terse, direct way of presenting the yogis’ complex belief system, complete with Max’s own personal doubts as they crop up – and that approach certainly succeeds in drawing in any unbelieving reader. The book is written from Max’s point of view: with his mother passing away,”now that he no longer had his mother’s voice in his head prompting him to become someone, nothing stopped him from seeking the same insight.” The “same insight” referred to here, is the yogis’ belief as reported to Max in the simple words of a recently arrived Indian immigrant who is manning an open-air food cart on a Manhattan street corner. Max has come across him after his mother’s funeral. The night is wintry and bitter, the Indian cart vendor is naked to the waist, apparently heedless of the cold; he certainly looks something of a yogi. The man tells him that yogis believe “that the whole world exists in opposites: up and down, cold and hot, darkness and light, night and day, summer and winter, growth and decay. So if there is birth, age, suffering, sorrow and death, then there must be something that is un-born, un-aging, un-ailing, sorrowless and deathless – immortal as it were. They want to find it”.