Friday, November 26, 2004

Richard Bach’s "The Bridge Across Forever"

I bought this autobiographical work in the airport when my flight got delayed. I thought I could finish this book in 2 days. I was wrong. This is a book whose contents must not be raced through. This is a book whose words must be relished till they last. It narrates the life history of the author Richard Bach at a certain point of time. The author promises us that “What’s written here happened in fact very nearly the way it’s turned out in print”. In fact most of his novels just do that. Describe his life at some point of time.
This book is simply about love and its emotional ramifications- intimacy, companionship, learning, complementing each other, etc. The reason I must say that I relished most parts of the book is because here is one author who has learnt to feel deeply, enjoy simply and most importantly be frank with himself. It describes how the author transformed himself from a dare-devil barnstormer who only cares about the next bout of adventure and who doesn’t believe in marriage to this vulnerable person who finds his soul mate and gets married. The book is about the author’s search for his soul mate. The journey begins with the author trying to find that perfect woman in his life. The journey leads us to some of the testy times of the author’s life. Along this journey he meets success, stardom, betrayal, near-disaster and then finally his soul mate. The book describes how the author fights his other self. The one who thinks all love is a farce and intimacy is the blonde you meet in the bar and forget the next day. The author for most part of the novel is doing what he does the best. Describes his feelings for and against the tethered existence of the loved. This is nothing but delightful.
He occasionally gets psychic and discusses paranormal things. This makes me doubt the author’s claim to veracity. But even those psychic narratives are linked mostly with love and hence share the beauty. The author has created beauty in those words.
He puts his new adventure called love to test and describes how his love comes out unscathed. The final chapters describes his life after his marriage and it is here where his love goes to loftier and more psychic peaks.
If you don't want to spoil the reading experience I suggest you don't go any further.
I felt so much empathy for the author that I checked out the rest of his story. I was in for a surprise. He had divorced his ‘soul-mate’. This was the soul mate he had found after such a tiring journey and about whom he claimed that he was destined to meet with. And there was this psychic thing. I guess this should not turn us off from the book as we as reader should learn to distinguish between the author’s work and his personal life. I guess we should judge (if at all) an author only by his work. The author should not be viewed as an epitome of the principles he is talking about. That epitome could be higher than the author himself. Hence going only by the work he has created, the least I can say is that the author has created beauty.

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