Yoga Sutras by Jackson Radcliffe: A review

Forty-ninth book reviewed as part of the 130 Challenge.

yoga sutras coverI wanted to read this book because I was curious about the way Yoga fits into this story. I also believed that writing a funny novel about Yoga must be terribly difficult and since Jackson Radcliffe had taken this up, it must make for an interesting read.

Jackson has written a 300 page story that revolves around the life of a really dull man named Dave who is seeking an escape from his dreary existence while he attends Yoga classes on his wife’s insistence. Dave’s life is uninspiring; he keeps the company of an insecure thin person and a boisterous and loud and disgustingly vulgar fat person, his marriage is in shambles and he briefly lusts after his Yoga instructor. His friends, wife and Yoga instructor are flat characters that have no depth to them whatsoever.

There is very little happening in the novel other than the Dave feeling sorry for himself and getting some really boring epiphanies. I found his friends especially disagreeable and couldn’t stand their interactions in the novel.

While I wouldn’t say I was disappointed by the novel (it was indeed funny in bits and pieces), the story did drag a little bit for me after a point, and I felt like it was going nowhere.

However, there is a saving grace in the novel and that is Jackson’s sharp wit based on everyday observations. It kept me going through the novel. Sample this –

Who is the seer? The seer is you. By the practice of yoga you may come to know your true nature. Dave had always thought that a seer was a wise person, but perhaps Patanjali just meant see-er: a person who can see.

Dave could never stay focussed on the present. Why would he want to limit himself in that way? His mind was free to roam throughout history, to explore his own past or to speculate about the future. Why restrict himself to this arbitrary sliver of time we labelled ‘now’?

yoga sutras fb cover

The foyer of the leisure centre was a discordant noisy place, designed by people who had been briefed carefully about fun and games, but had never experienced any themselves.

Yoga had been invented by men for men. For thousands of years women had been forbidden to practise yoga or even to learn about it. Then some idiot had let the cat out of the bag, and now look what had happened. Women everywhere. Trying to find a man doing yoga was like trying to find a woman who could change a spark plug.

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