PLOT: 3/5 CHARACTERS: 3/5 CONCEPT: 4.5/5 RELEVANCE: 4.5/5 ENTERTAINMENT: 3.5/5
“The society needs to be ‘fair’, not ‘equal’. Fair and equal are rarely the same! I agree with Bob Dylan, ‘All this talk about equality. The only thing people really have in common is that they are all going to die!’.”Munazir Hussain, The Un-Religious Saint
Many times, in the process of writing, some authors blur the lines between fiction and nonfiction. They structure a book around a story but the soul of the book remains that of self-help. These past few months, I have had the pleasure of reading not one but two such books – Vibhor Kumar Singh’s The Billionaire and the Monk, and Late Dr. Shweta Shahi’s Unleash the Power Called You… You Matter.
Fortunately, I recently came across another similar read that not just enlightened me but also gave some essential life lessons. Read on to know more about Munazir Hussain’s The Un-Religious Saint. Find out how did I like it and how was my experience of reading it?
What to expect?
Expect a book that narrates a simple story. Expect a book that has a lot of life lessons and practical wisdom. Expect a book that attempts to make the reader a better individual. Expect a book that is easy to read. Finally, expect a book that is essentially nonfiction self-help in the garb of a fictional story.
Whereas the blurb seems quite interesting, something on the lines of Viktor E Frankl’s iconic book, Man’s Search for Meaning, the cover looks rather dull. It fails to lure the reader, and if I am allowed to say, is greatly out of tune with current trends in book cover designs and styles. The title appears interesting, though, and makes one ponder. I, for one, was deeply curious to know the story of the un-religious saint.
Clearly laid out objective
The Un-Religious Saint is very clear in its objective. It intends to make us realize the hidden dream of our life. In its own words, it says, “There is a great hidden dream in each of us. It is our divine duty to discover and realize that hidden dream.” This dream, the book tells us, will serve as the purpose of our life, a purpose that will bestow meaning to our life.
Let’s talk about the storyline
Adil is the son of middle-class parents, who on a visit to a Sufi shrine, chances upon the beautiful Naazneen. One look at the ethereal beauty, and Adil falls head over heels in love with her. What follows is a restless journey of pursuing and wooing the girl, until she decides to give in. But alas, Adil’s life is fraught with hardships, as one after the other, life takes him on a roller coaster that is bound to teach him lessons that will change his outlook towards life.
The Un-Religious Saint is the story of Adil’s journey in life; a journey where is he assisted and guided by a mystic power that seems to have a bigger purpose for him.
Life lessons to be learned
There are many takeaways from the book. There are plenty of life lessons to be learned along with examples. With the help of a simple storyline and the situations the main character finds himself in, the author tries to impart many a great knowledge. These lessons not just deal with spiritual pursuits (like the title of the book suggests), but they also dole out much-needed advice in practical aspects of life like relationships, truth, trust, goals, ambition, financial wisdom, etc.
Ample amount of research
Just a chapter in, and the reader can easily gauge the level of research that has gone into the making of this book. Lessons from history for example (1) the banning of the Printing press for two hundred and fifty years by Turkey) and (2) the story of the famous river crossing by Alexander the Great, generously grace the text while attempting to enlighten our mind.
Similarly, the book also condenses the great wisdom of many noble souls which also guides the reader on the path of self-reflection and discovery.
What did I not like?
One thing that immediately catches a reader’s eye right at the beginning is the poor editing. The very first lines have editing errors that stare you in the face. This thankfully is not the case with the rest of the book. There are errors in punctuation and editing throughout the book, but their numbers are much less in comparison. Another exasperating aspect is the overuse of exclamation marks and a particular way of writing names of cities (italicized and in single quotes). For example, “Adil went to ‘Bangalore’ and joined the company.”
What could have been better?
Though I’ve eventually become a fan of all the life lessons that the book imparts, I am left wanting when it comes to the storyline. The story is very linear without any surprises or twists. It is also a tad cliché and predictable to a large extent. While the essence of the book remains uncompromised, the story has a huge scope for improvement and entertainment that is left unexplored.
How good was the climax?
The Un-Religious Saint has a decent climax that gives a befitting end to the story of Adil and his quest for life. I love how things pace up towards the end, and we see the action happening in the challenging landscape of the Thar Desert. The whole vibe of a mysterious and harsh landscape, the fear of the unknown, and confronting your worst fears, created an effect that was truly invigorating and must I say, a pleasure to read. Kudos to the author on a job well done!
In the end
In the end, The Un-Religious Saint narrates a simple story of a great transformation and self-discovery. Don’t be fooled by the drab cover, for the book contains some great life lessons for anyone who wishes to gain from the wisdom that it contains. I, for sure, had a good time reading and learning from it.
Pick the book if
- If you are looking for a beginner-friendly self-help book.
- If you like books that make you a better person.
- If you want to learn about the meaning and purpose of life.
- If you want to read a simple and inspirational story.
Skip the book if
- If you can’t stand editing mistakes.
- If you are a voracious reader who has previously read many similar books.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of The Un-Religious Saint using the link below.