24 March, 2018

#BookReview :: The Buddha of the Brothel by Kris Advaya

When Kris made a trip to India to study Ayurvedic massage, he never thought he would find love, adventure, and heartbreak. Traumatised by the loss of his friend and army abuses, Kris came to India practicing meditation and chastity, but both efforts were turned head over heels when he caught sight of Radha, a sex worker in Pune’s notorious red-light district. 
Before he knew it, Kris was wrapped up in the world of pimps and crime lords, losing his hold on the life he had been pursuing and all the dreams of stability he had once built in his head. To be with the woman who had stolen his heart away, a life-altering decision awaited.
A true story, The Buddha of the Brothel is a poignant look into the world of godmen, spiritual seekers, and the men and women whose lives are ruled by the sex market and its overlords. Advaya’s account, written in refreshingly sparkling prose, is by turns anguished, humorous, hopeful, and bewildered, as he wades through a world he had never expected to encounter. 
Sure to appeal to readers of Gregory Roberts’s Shantaram with its less than glittering setting, this is a literary memoir that opens readers’ eyes and minds and will not let go easily of their imaginations.

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I am not a big reader of non-fiction. But the cover, the title and the blurb of the book was just too enticing to pass it up. And I am glad that I decided to pick this one up.

The Buddha of the Brothel is the story of a part of Author Kris Advaya’s journey that brought him to India. Trying to leave behind his experiences of army and that of loss, Kris came to India with hopes of starting a fresh phase in his life that would include spirituality, meditation and Ayurveda. Instead of the calm, he found the storm when he met Radha, a sex worker. Getting sucked into the world of flesh trade and pimps was the last thing he had planned. But life doesn’t always follow a plan and so Kris’s journey take on a least expected turn.

The book is a mix of a memoir and travelogue with a dash of romance and a bit of self-discovery. Kris’s experiences in India makes the book a hell of a read. There are parts where I could see my country through a true traveler’s eyes… prying, open to understanding, yet not judgmental. There are portions that bring you up close and personal with the author. And then there are moments that could have been taken out of a Bollywood movie. Through Radha’s plight the book could touch a lot of hearts as well.

Once immersed in the beautiful prose of Kris, it was difficult for me to remember at times that the book is based on real life experiences. The author’s style of writing is simply beautiful and his language is immersing. Books like these are why I am forever enchanted by the world of literature. Kris’s narrative style is such that it easily paints a picture in the readers mind and reading the book is almost like living that life for the few hours that it takes to read it. Amazingly seductive.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys good prose. Pick it up with an open mind, expect nothing and judge nothing – you will enjoy the journey.

Review Copy received from Fingerprint Publishing

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