cover image The Yoga of Max’s Discontent

The Yoga of Max’s Discontent

Karan Bajaj. Riverhead, $26.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-59463-411-6

A man renounces a comfortable life in the West to pursue spiritual enlightenment in India in Bajaj’s engrossing novel. In the wake of his mother’s death, a chance encounter with a sage falafel cook inspires Max Pzoras to quit his Wall Street job, leave his friends and family, and embark on a quest of self-discovery that carries him from the snows of the Himalayas to the droughts of southern India. As varied as the subcontinent’s locations are its characters, including freewheeling young bikers and ageless yogis whose silences last for decades. Bajaj paints his colorful cast in bright—albeit broad—strokes. A yoga instructor raised in the Himalayas, Bajaj is best at balancing the tensions of place and practice: India’s privilege and poverty, Max’s mind and body, yoga’s mix of the spiritual and the terrestrial. Though its style fails to match the profundity of its ideas, the novel pays equal mind to the personal and the universal, guiding the reader along a pleasurable journey. (May)