I had promised Cheerful Monk that I would review the book once I had finished reading it and here it is. I hope that Anjali agrees with my conclusion.
I am disappointed.
Sara Maitland has taken the theme that she loves being alone and would like other people to enjoy being alone too; but present societies consider this preference as countercultural. This may well be true of Western societies but I do come from India where it is anything but countercultural. That India, particularly urban India has increasingly become Westernised considered, the vast majority of Indians would not consider going off to live alone or on retreats as being odd.
Having said that, there are as many pressures here for single people to get married as there are in the West and as many snide comments about singles made to them or behind their backs as there apparently are in the West.
Ms. Maitland has collected many quotes from many authors and her suggested reading list for those looking to be alone include Henry Thoreau, Philip Koch, Isabel Colegate and Peter France. Frankly, I have no intention to read any further on the subject as nothing new has come up in her work and I doubt that I will learn anything new from the others though I must say that I have always found Thoreau’s Walden a fascinating read.
Unless you are now not alone and are being forced into or voluntarily planning to go it alone for the rest of your life and are looking for a DIY book, you can safely give this book a bye.
Synchronicity strikes again.
Number one development – Yesterday my niece Anjali posted a link to an article on her facebook wall that took me to this author and her book.
I bought the Kindle version of the book which I have now started to read and will review here after I finish. My initial take is that it promises to be interesting. I also exchanged these comments with Anjali on facebook.
I : “I am not exactly alone but I have bought the kindle version to read at leisure since you have recommended it.”
Anjali : “Experiments with solitude are a good thing. It doesn’t matter if we live with other people or like the author, live alone in a remote shepard’s cottage. She has raised some valid and extremely interesting points and should be read keeping in mind The Case For Boredom. ( Jiddu, UG, Russel and many others have written on the subject)”
Number two development – This morning, it being a nice lazy Sunday morning, Ranjan, Manjiree and I were sitting around chatting when Ranjan mentioned that his classmate and friend Prasath from Thailand had spoken to him and specifically asked Ranjan to take good care of me because I am now alone! Prasath was one of the many young people who used to flock to our home during Ranjan’s college days and were very attached to Urmeela. Prasath and his family had visited us last month while on vacation here and he kept on ruing her absence. He must have felt that I too must be missing her and had kept that thought to himself but had mentioned it to Ranjan in his chat.
I am no stranger to solitude and my regular readers will know of my innumerable retreats to practice Vipassana Meditation and my continuing practice. These two developments coming as they did, immediately one after the other, has led me to give serious consideration to going off on another ten day retreat soon! My readers will know about it much before I actually do.