Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Critical Book Review: The Journey of the Unknown Path

The Journey of the Unknown Path by young talented author Manhardeep Singh Ahluwalia makes no pretence to follow Robin Sharma’s style of writing. Even though you can’t help but sense the similarities, it’d be a mistake to compare the two. The book is intended to be taken as a parable, with consistent, and, sometimes annoying, presence of prescriptive subtext.

It’s a journey of two characters spaced in time. The journey is metaphorical with abundant moral lessons to be had along the way. Rama, who is the first protagonist, journeys across an unknown forest. Michael, a few centuries later, travels through an unknown tunnel. The metaphor stands to mean that’ ‘unknown’ is in fact ‘life’. What fails the book in terms of content is the attempt to traverse through this ‘unknown’ in less than 50 pages, and, it makes a mockery of all the larger works of self-help literature. Brevity of thought and expression works against the book. This first flaw is the length of the book. It’s not a book, it’s a booklet.
Robin Sharma weaves stories around his moral teachings, so does Stephen Covey when he is teaching management leadership. Paulo Coelho takes this to another level and makes one magically oblivious that his stories are also ingrained with moral and spiritual lessons. Manhardeep sits somewhere on the fence on this. He has tried a parable that is too short, too vivid, and does not drive home an individual message. It’s a cacophony of quotes that you can find out of the literature of Bob Proctor, Bob Doyle and other guys out of The Secret . Manhardeep needs to find his ‘voice’ pretty soone.
This is clearly a case of how a publisher has failed a first-time talented author.  The subtext coming up as ‘author’s notes’ is a bad idea. So, is the length of the book. The language is formal and at times redundant. I can’t understand why the ‘acknowledgement’ page is the last page of the book. This all suggests that the editor took a leave when they published this book.
I would sincerely want to keep Manhardeep motivated enough to carry on writing after this review. There is nothing at all wrong with his skill-set and writing brain. The Journey of the Unknown Path is a publisher’s blunder and is certainly an incomplete-book published in hurry by a business house and not a publisher.
Considering that the author paid money towards publishing I am absolutely furious at the services he got in return. Of course, the quality of printing and paper is acceptable but that’s just about it.
Why is the title not ‘A Journey of an Unknown Path’, or, ‘A Journey of the Unknown Path ? I wonder if they ( editors) can actually see any difference.

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