Friday, June 15, 2012

Book Review - Questing for Uberjoy by Konrad Ventana

Sweetie was given this book to review and passed it on to me.  It is available for purchase so it isn't an advanced reader copy.  I took it because of the cover picture.  It intrigued me as I've had a fondness and curiosity for the Orient ever since is lived for two years in the Philippines and visited Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan on my way home.

Konrad Ventana is enigmatic for me.  He is obviously brilliant.  The book reads like Young Adult Fiction as the story line breezes right along.  Yet it contains a depth and maturity that is truly surprising.  Ventana's vocabulary would put Alex Trebek to shame.  At first I set to using a dictionary; and needed one in almost every sentence.  That being too tedious, though, I began extrapolating the meaning of the myriad words unfamiliar to me and just settled in and enjoyed the story, and the philosophy, and the travelogue and the anthropology of Nepal.

At first I thought the elaborate vocabulary to be ridiculous; but came to love the concise, compact, brisk style the accurate use of words can offer.  Ventana is anything but verbose.  His economic expenditure of rich language is amazing!  Equally impressive is his geographic understanding of Nepal and Tibet and his cultural and religious savy of Eastern ways.  Now, I'm no expert in these things, so he might have pulled the wool over my eyes; but I take Konrad Ventana at face value and easily assume him to be as truly brilliant intellectually as his prose makes out.

Now, I won't spoil the story for you.  Suffice it to say it is an exciting page turner that moves right along to a very surprising conclusion.

I read to learn about myself and this little tome really did the trick.  Orion the main character is obviously on an important quest.  Towards its conclusion he begins to worry about where to go next.  A problem I'm currently grappling with.  All along the journey he has had a native companion who has been both his physical and spiritual guide.  Orion wants Segunda to continue on with him - to help him determine his next destination so to speak.  He begs for this and his companion replies:
"Segunda has no answers of such originality for you." he said.  "As you might recall, Segunda was recruited to be your guide only when your path was firmly established and your course of action was already indelibly clear...  However, you should know this:  When you set out to right some wrong that needs to righted, but has not been righted yet...when you endeavor to overcome some evil that by all standards of human decency need to be defeated, but has not been defeated yet... when you set about the task of fashioning some marvelous elixir for the body or the mind that should by all measures of human value be celebrated from a place beyond the highest rooftops, and yet the voices of all the earthly authorities remain only silent or shrill ... you may again find a Segunda, to second your own emotions and to guide you on your way."
More simply put, "When the student is ready the teacher will come."  To a large degree Konrad Ventana was such a teacher for me...for which I am grateful.

Personal Note:  My latest Segunda goes by the name of Darwin.  Thanks Darwin.

So I've learned that my next quest must be found within me and that is where I shall seek.  I liked this volume enough to be certain to read the first two in the Trilogy: A Desperado's Daily Bread and The Unbearable Sadness of Zilch.  Each one appears to stand alone, so I hope being out of sequence hasn't hurt.

The cover illustration depicts a little Nepalese girl who has captured my attention.  She is not mentioned specifically in the book, but I cannot refrain from gazing into her face.  She seems to be speaking directly to me and somehow I can divine that she is asking me, "So, what's it gonna be?"  I feel compelled to answer her question.


1 comment:

Myke Weber said...

Konrad mentioned this review on his own blog. Here is what he said:

“Questing for Uberjoy,” the third and final book in the Post-Lux (after the light) series, was recently released—and the response was heartwarming and encouraging, to say the least. Take, for example, the exemplary review by Myke Weber ( this review was clearly written with remarkable sincerity (for a reviewer) and such heartfelt appreciation that it reminded me why I bother… why I bother to endure the isolation… why I bother to climb deep inside… why I bother to aspire… why I bother to spill my arterial blood upon the pages… why I bother to write! Thank you, Myke, for reminding me, in my lifetime, why I bother to put my pen to paper.

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