John Spivey gives us an insightful story of finding redemption, healing, friendship, and peace. He takes a Yokuts shaman from the 1760's and a Chinese man escaping China during the Opium wars in the 1850's, and sets them on a path together. Each looking for healing and peace for himself, but while traveling through Central California together in search of the person they are to help, they form a friendship. J.R., a US soldier from Irag with PTSD, is that man they are looking for. Meanwhile, J.R. is compelled to go into the mountains in search of finding a way to his own pain-free existence, and finds Wu and Francisco.
Spivey reminds us in the beginning of the book to be patient as the story unfolds. Wise words, as healing and peace are not so immediate a find. He takes his time showing us this story, mixing spiritualism, metaphysics, Native American, Western and Eastern religions, and he makes sense of it all. Time is treated as flexible, adaptable. It is an illusion to the characters. We each have our own history individually, and the world and its peoples have their collective past. "Until you find your real self you aren't a full human being." "That self is what can observe your pain and the pain of the world and sort it out and keep it at a safe distance."(p. 206).
Through friendship and compassion, we gain perspective and appreciation of others, and vice versa. By this understanding of others, we can start to fully understand ourselves and find that peace we are looking for. Spivey expresses this journey, this struggle of healing and finding peace within ourselves and within the world beautifully.
***this book was received from the author through a Booklikes giveaway***