Enlightenment for Idiots

Anne Cushman, Author , Crown/Shaye Areheart $24 (371p) ISBN 978-0-307-38164-4

Cushman, coauthor of the nonfiction From Here to Nirvana and contributing editor to Yoga Journal , has written a hilarious take on the quest for truth that manages to respect the journey while skewering many of the travelers. Amanda, a 29-year-old fledgling yoga teacher, ekes out a living as a freelance writer in San Francisco and seizes the chance to go to India when her editor assigns her to research a guidebook about enlightenment. Soon she’s traipsing around India pursuing trendy gurus and yoga masters and scoring insightful encounters with ordinary folk along the way. She also collects a traveling companion: the sweet-natured, celibate truth seeker Devi Das, who, upon viewing the polluted Ganges, advises Amanda to “Think holy, not E. coli.” The discovery that she’s pregnant makes Amanda’s quest for meaning all the more poignant, forcing her to review her choices while she struggles to uncover the elusive secret to happiness. Cushman brings devastating wit and a thorough knowledge of her subject to her first novel, evoking an India that fills the senses and stirs the spirit even as it occasionally turns the stomach, and making it possible for the reader to both laugh with and root for Amanda as she comes to terms with her messy life. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/11/2008
Release date: 04/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 375 pages - 978-0-307-38165-1
Open Ebook - 245 pages - 978-0-307-40744-3
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