Higher Thinking

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The lives of renowned holy men can be quite interesting when you learn where they started from. The Cauliflower by Nicola Barker pieces together bit by bit the story of renowned spiritual master and guru Sri Ramakrishna, with the story melding history with legend as it presents the life and times of Sri Ramakrishna.

Reflecting on the whole, I found it jarring with the jumps in narrative time with very little context as to why. Some of the story felt as if it was fitting with the era of the 19th century when this man lived or written in a logical biographical manner, yet other parts felt as if readers were anachronistic voyeurs into the past due to some technological anomaly that allowed us to travel back in time to see these things first hand. It’s more of an experimental mosaic than an actual narrative – parts of the whole and all that jazz. The way that much of the story is written assumes that the reader is in on whatever “experience” is being told, which we’re really not. I found it difficult to connect with the story because I had to work extra hard in order to keep up with and contextualize what was being presented.

Overall, I’d give it a 2 out of 5 stars.

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