*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss
Author: Rajeev Balasubramanyam
Publisher: Chatto & Windus
Publication Date: January 10, 2019
Synopsis from Goodreads:
In the moments after the bicycle accident, Professor Chandra doesn’t see his life flash before his eyes, but his life’s work. He’s just narrowly missed out on the Nobel Prize (again) and even though he knows he should get straight back to his pie charts, his doctor has other ideas. All this work. All this success. All this stress. It’s killing him. He needs to take a break, start enjoying himself. In short, says his doctor (who is from California), Professor Chandra should just follow his bliss. He doesn’t know it yet, but Professor Chandra is about to embark on the trip of a lifetime.
What a beautiful novel this was. This is a novel about family, self-realization, and love. Professor Chandra seemingly has everything is life, but far too quickly, everything he loved is taken away. His wife leaves him forbel prize other man. His children keep their distance, if they speak to him at all. His goal of winning the Nobel prize is dashed again and again. Everything Chandra has understood about the world is called into question. Chandra finds himself hitting bottom and directed towards an ashram-esque therapeutic retreat where he learns to confront his demons. For the first time in his life, he allows himself to remember his own troubled relationship with his father and to take an introspective moment to assess his relationship with his own children.
This book was so sweet and so comforting. Chandra is a character that you can’t help but root for. He’s arrogant, dense, and completely oblivious, but above all, he loves his children. His words and actions are driven by his desire to see his children in a better place, but he’s blinded by his own hubris and denial. In order to grow and to reconnect with his family, Chandra must first confront his own suppressed emotions and memories to acknowledge what it is in his past that’s made him who he is in the present.
While light-hearted, this story tackles an deep tale of self-discovery. With a dash of humour, Balasubramanyam tackles tough family situations by following Chandra’s inner monologue through periods of both stagnation and growth. This is a story of crisis, but also of resolution. The writing is captivating and entertaining. I enjoyed this book immensely.