29 December 2009

Illusions by Richard Bach

What if you were to meet someone who casually demolishes every one of the assumptions your world stands on? Who shows you that water is solid and soil is liquid and you can suffocate in air? Who nudges you to find your questions? Who then tells you that your question is your answer?

What if this someone who is a modern messiah and a reluctant one at that, becomes the one other human being you understand the most and the least – at the same time? What if this someone is a dear friend who, messiah or not, grapples with his own existential angst?

And…. What if you yourself are more evolved than you ever imagined, vested with knowledge from many lifetimes and across dimensions of time and space?

The premise of a reluctant modern messiah is sure to pique the interest of most people. And the completely ‘undaunting’ size of the book is a further lure. The look and feel of ‘Illusions’ reminded me of ‘Notes to Myself’ by Hugh Prather. Open any random page and you have a quote or two that jump out at you – even those that are just part of the text and not meant to be quotes. I love the style – it reads so simple that I wonder if the process of writing it was as simple. Hmm. Maybe not.

I read this book over a few days, although it looks very much like an airport read. Some books need ‘soaking’ time. The beginning was promising, easy, fun. Somewhere at the middle of the book, I started wondering if it was taking a turn towards oversimplification. Or was it getting so profound that I found it terribly simple?

Is this book autobiographical? – Yes and No.
Is this fiction or philosophy? – A bit of both.
Is this a personal diary – meant more for the writer than for the reader? – hmm… maybe!

This book has left me with some insights, and I’m sure a second read would mine more. At first pass, I have crystallized a few key messages – about learning, choices and the power of imagination.

It has also left me mildly bewildered and a bit sad. I’m happy to have read it. Will read it fully again sometime – this time in one go! But before that happens I know I will often pick this one up just to turn to a random page for a reticent insight previously unnoticed.


  1. Ah! read this book (at your home actually) ages ago. it didnt stay with me though; may be the frame of mind in which I was at that time? looks like i need a second read now :-)

  2. U made me hungry for this book...Great review must say...

    Vaise this is exactly the review i would write for THE DRAGONS OF THE EDEN too...Wonderful book too with lots of wierd and good to know facts thrown in..

    Jumped to your blog from Indiblogger :)


  3. @Nish: Thank you! I loved the book too. Havent read 'The Dragons...' - will trawl for it.

    Just browsed through your blog. made me smile - will read when not in office.

    keep it going! Cheers!