My novel Random Walk was published in 1988, and engendered a remarkable groundswell of apathy. Sales were slim, reviews were blah, and that was that.
Except it wasn’t, because over the years the book found an audience, small, but enthusiastic. For some readers it was the one book of mine they just didn’t get at all; for others, it was the one they re-read twenty times.
This email turned up in my mailbox this morning, and it’s my great pleasure to share it:
I am delighted to add my name to the many fans of your novel Random Walk. I read it with much enthusiasm as an e-book and, as the saying goes, could barely put it down.
I came across it in the course of accumulating ideas and stories for my own upcoming book, Walk Like A Mountain. This will be the first comprehensive study of traditional and modern walking practices for Buddhists and other spiritual seekers. I am covering some 10-15 examples of spiritual practices from all over the world. I found Random Walk through a search on “walk” titles and was delighted with the treatment of walking. Like the characters in the book, I too found this walk irresistible and joined in whole-heartedly.
What you present in Random Walk seems a classic pilgrimage walk where seekers step away from their regular lives, come together and set off in an adventure of self-exploration and communal experience. It would probably be a stretch to force any parallels to the legendary great pilgrimages to Jerusalem, across Spain or Japan, but there are definite parallels to Chaucer’s scenario in Canterbury Tales.
Your unique formulation of a somewhat surreal space that surrounds the walkers, this healing environment is not so out of place on a pilgrimage, although perhaps not to the scale you describe. I was fascinated how well you anticipated the Gaia hypothesis in your vision of a kind of earth spirit or planetary brain which initiates this world-wide transformation. I agree that the next great transformation will not come from some charismatic leader or villain but rather from a spontaneous emergence of loving energy among ordinary people by the numbers. Maybe we’re seeing some of that in the Occupy and “Spring” movements?
Finally, as a Buddhist, I found Buddhist themes of interconnection, suffering/healing and insight-wisdom marbled throughout the book. As a Buddhist teacher, I will be recommending the work to all I encounter. I will also include some recommendation in my own book.
Thank you sincerely for this most satisfying read,
May your walk be a walk of wisdom and healing too,
Innen Ray Parchelo
Red Maple Sangha,