In spite of that, I get a great many emails every day with offers of books to review. I delete most of them but occasionally one will interest me and then I respond and post a review here. This description of The Dharma King grabbed my attention:
The timely story guides the reader to examine the competing interests of capitalism and spirituality, China's emergence onto the world stage, Tibet's future and the personal struggle to find meaning in a changed world, says B.G. Stroh, while raising individuals' spiritual awareness.
"The inescapable tragedy of the current Tibetan situation drew me to the struggles of the Panchen Lama,"explains Stroh, who has traveled throughout Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal, and studied Tibetan Buddhism. "The novel ties together one man's personal quest with responsibility for something greater in the world in a fascinating story."
I replied to the invitation and received this handsome volume with a charming letter from author B.G.Stroh. The proceeds of the book sales are to be donated to Sera Jhe monastery in Tibet. I was really looking forward to reading it and recommending it to my friends.
I regret to say that the book isn't at all what I expected. The first chapter describes the after-effects of the central character's graduation party. I think we all know what a hangover looks like without the minute detail of 'clenched abdominals' and 'bile-based vomit'. I'll spare you the description of the contents of the black porcelain toilet.
I paused and pondered. Perhaps this was the writer's way of showing the depth of degradation that Sam was starting from on his spiritual journey. It could only get better. The eight pages of chapters 2 and 3 were indeed better because Sam slept through most of them. Then I reached chapter 4. I will not quote from it because there isn't a sentence I would care to display on my blog. I don't know what language is acceptable in polite society in the US these days but I don't think it is this. The book should carry a warning that it contains strong and offensive language.
I regret that I cannot finish reading The Dharma King. I regret that I cannot recommend it to my friends. I regret that I responded to the invitation to review it. Sorry, Mr Stroh.