26 April 2009

Snow Leopard Review

Here's a little review I wrote after reading Matthiessen's The Snow Leopard:

Peter Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard takes you on a rough and sometimes painful journey through the Nepalese mountains. Yet he paints his tale with grand finesse. In journal style, his story comes to life for the reader with soft phrasing and little, but important details. Each day, he leaves you with a jewel - a thought that asks you to reflect on yourself.

Matthiessen grabs you out of your fast-moving, important, routine life and asks you to stay a little longer. Whether or not you stay is up to you, but he takes you face to face with something new. He gives you the tools to untangle your own knots of muddled, mindless living. If you can’t slow down your important life for just one moment to see what he has to say and to think about his experiences, I feel sorry for you. He gives you the one thing that will always keep you on track in life - the secret to well being.

Amidst the desire for the glimpse of a snow leopard, and dealing with the loss of his wife, Matthiessen writes purely and without attachment. The Snow Leopard infiltrates you into his place - far from humanity, far from roads and screaming, yellow taxis. It is about releasing yourself and letting go of all the boundaries that we have built up around ourselves. It is a pursuit to open the door to broader thinking that is not boxed in. It is about seeing your reality through a different looking glass, despite tradition, religion, or social status.

As a student of Buddhism, my view is obviously biased. Despite who you are though, take a look with an open mind. Matthiessen’s words are powerful and deserve more than a sideways glance.

P.S. I am very jealous of everyone who was able to attend Peter Matthiessen at the Emerson. I read your blogs and it sounded amazing!

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