Buddha of the Brothel (Book Review) by Kris Advaya

Book Name: Buddha of the Brothel

Author: Kris Advaya

Publisher: Fingerprint

Rating: 5/5

Book Blurb: When Kris made a trip to India to study Ayurvedic massage, he never thought he would find love, adventure, and heartbreak. Traumatised by the loss of his friend and army abuses, Kris came to India practicing meditation and chastity, but both efforts were turned head over heels when he caught sight of Radha, a sex worker in Pune’s notorious red-light district.

Before he knew it, Kris was wrapped up in the world of pimps and crime lords, losing his hold on the life he had been pursuing and all the dreams of stability he had once built in his head. To be with the woman who had stolen his heart away, a life-altering decision awaited.

A true story, The Buddha of the Brothel is a poignant look into the world of godmen, spiritual seekers, and the men and women whose lives are ruled by the sex market and its overlords. Advaya’s account, written in refreshingly sparkling prose, is by turns anguished, humorous, hopeful, and bewildered, as he wades through a world he had never expected to encounter.

Sure to appeal to readers of Gregory Roberts’s Shantaram with its less than glittering setting, this is a literary memoir that opens readers’ eyes and minds and will not let go easily of their imaginations.

Review: Buddha of the Brothel starts off at a very high note and the author delivers what he promises in the initial few chapters.

The story is nothing extraordinary and deals with loss, finding love in the most unlikely places (a brothel) and betrayal. The writer falls in love with somebody who he has no future with and offers the supreme commitment but ultimately has to deal with uncertainty and few answers.

Kris has an easy grasp over language and his fluid narration coupled with detailed descriptions lend a literary air to this wonderful book. Writing a book is like getting naked in front of the whole world and anybody who is conscious of the opinion of the public at large must stay away from writing. Kris does not shy away from disclosing even the most intimate accounts and it is his honesty and candidness that makes this book a joyful read.

His descriptions of Pune and Bombay did remind me of Shantaram even though it will take a couple of books and more writing to make Kris a master of his trade but he is going in the right direction. The only downside in the book is that it becomes repetitive during the middle chapters and the text becomes an endless routine of reading the frequent visits to the brothel with not much of substance to read.

The dilemma and pain discussed in the book is something that has been experienced by every young heart that has ever fallen in love or has failed in love. The sense of having found something to hold onto no matter how fleeting, provides some comfort for the broken heart. Such themes of love, loss and ultimately even betrayal are recurring in this book.

Aside from the graphical descriptions of love making that will surely entice readers deprived of female companionship, Kris has also managed to develop other characters in great detail. His knack for observation and the descriptions of his Ayurveda Guru make for a fascinating read.

There are very few writers in the subcontinent who dare to share their tale with such brutal honesty and those who do are worth reading.


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