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Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite
A Story of Karma: Finding Love and Truth in the Lost Valley of the Himalaya by Michael Schauch takes readers on a fascinating and insightful journey with the author and Chantal, his wife, to the remote Himalaya of northern Nepal - a desert of snow and ice in one of the most far-flung and dangerous places on earth. He speaks of his adventure in the mountains as being closer to God, connecting with the deeper truths within himself and his place in the world, the calmness and reverence that quietly exuded from it, and how he felt spiritual while climbing. The memoir is just not about mountains but is also about meeting Karma, a little girl, and how getting to know her and her family made him and his wife perceive the world in a different way. He shows the contrasting images of modern vs traditional, and preservation vs change, comparing their lives in a modern country like Canada to that of a country like Nepal. The memoir also speaks about how they live in harmony and balance with nature there and how they take pride in their rituals and traditions.
Michael Schauch's obsession to climb is palpable and his respect and love for the mountains are shown in the manner in which he captures the rawness and beauty. The memoir is spiritually invigorating, and shows how time and space move fluidly, and how what they gave Karma paled in comparison to what she did for them; showing immense gratitude and the simple joy she took in each and every experience. The author's deep connection with Karma, Pemba, and their family, the correspondences he and his wife experienced when they first went to Nepal shows how by honoring them they enriched their lives. The whirling clouds, the thick walls of snow and ice, and other descriptions make the place tangible to readers and the photographs shared at the end help readers connect better with the author's words. The book transcends multiple dimensions of the spiritual, physical, and material world, and gives glimpses of the human spirit, and how they overcome adversities and challenges and change lives.
A Story of Karma is spiritually uplifting and is a must-read because it is just not about the conquest of the mountains, but also of the mind and spirit. It gives valuable life lessons in human connection, self-discovery, finding truth, the connection, and the compassion between the author, his wife, Karma, and her family. The author's story will transform the vision and perception of readers, and make them more aware of Buddhism and Buddhist teachings.