Kurt and Bongo and the Hippies

Fiction - Cultural
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 08/02/2017
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Al Gromer Khan spent his early years in a small village in western Bavaria, in London, and later in Morocco and India. After seven years of study of Indian music, he began to develop his own compositional style. He has produced more than fifty music albums with contemplative new world music since 1980. From 1990 he wrote and produced radio broadcasts for various National Radio stations. In 2015 he was awarded the Tagore Cultural Prize. This is his fourth novel. He lives with his wife in Munich.

If there is an objective for this story, it is to show rare fates: the lives of those who are seldom mentioned, as they do not push into the limelight. They love life for its own sake, unalterable and with an uncertain outcome – the opposite of the Warhol philosophy, as it were. Memory should be preserved of such ´unimportant´ people and their inner states, when these run the risk of becoming oblivious.
This is not a memoir and I´m not Kurt. I might have been a kind of Kurt as I, too, went to London from a small Bavarian village at the age of nineteen. Fellini once said that in his work everything and nothing is autobiographical. I would agree with that.
The synchronism of events as described in this story was one of the peculiarities of the Summer of Love – a network of oscillations and vibrations in which a group of young individuals kept having repeated encounters in unexpected places.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ankita Shukla for Readers' Favorite

Kurt and Bongo and the Hippies by Al Gromer Khan revolves around three main characters: Kurt (a German), Bongo (an African), and Toby (an Indian). There are other side characters in the story, but they are just that -- side characters. This does not mean that these extra players did not contribute to the story; on the contrary, they kept the entertainment quotient of the book high. Kurt and Bongo are living in the same apartment -- on and off. Bongo is a proper hippie who has a very different outlook on life. He does not follow the same rules as everybody else and does whatever interests him. Kurt, on the other hand, is not as impulsive as Bongo. In fact, he believes in being someone and doing something with his life. Many times, mostly when he is high (not essentially on drugs), he contemplates the direction that his life is taking. Toby lives in India and is fascinated by Germany. He believes that he is destined to be in Germany; however, life does not deal him an easy hand. His own father sold him to a guy, who used Toby sexually. Eventually, Toby finds his way out of this situation only to land up in another similar one. The story of his life is full of many twists.

The narration of the book is very different. The story moves along in the characters' musings about their lives or their reflections on their friends' lives. One cannot simply follow the plot without paying attention. There are many flashbacks, which require a reader to really use his/her common sense. That being said, once I got a hang of the narration, I was hooked to learn what would happen to Kurt, Bongo, and Toby. The racism that Kurt faced on a daily basis for being a German really made my blood boil at times. I was heartbroken to see Kurt - my favorite character - suffer. His personality has a depth to it that forced me to develop an understanding of him. Bongo's presence was a welcome escape from the seriousness of the plot. His dialogues and actions are marvelous. He made me laugh a lot. I had much sympathy for Toby in the beginning but, to my dismay, I discovered later that he did not deserve my sympathy at all. I applaud the author for managing to develop such deep emotions for the characters in the hearts of readers.

Steve Sheppard One World Musicon 26 Ju

A riveting read

I have just spent several days on a journey, that journey took me back to the summer of love with the author Al Gromer Khan, and through the medium of his characters, Toby one and two, Bongo and of course the ever fun and experimental Kurt, this trip took me back to a time before I was a teen, but I know enough to say that Gromer Khans manifestation, this literal work of sublime genius, is indeed a work of fiction, but it is exactly how it was and how to a certain point, still is today.

Sex, drugs and rock and roll, of course you can find that right here, but there is much more that lies under the pages of an extremely well written book, this collage of brilliance has been pasted together by one who has lived, not only in this time, but has also read the book and got the t shirt.

The characterization is superb, the twists and turns of the narrative even more so, one can feel sympathy for (Indian Toby) forced into a world of homosexual labour, but then one can feel an angst for his eventual arrogance and superiority complexities as the story wends its undeniably wonderful way along the stories timeline.

Dear potential reader, this is a book that is as addictive as the LSD trip segment midway in the tale, this is a book that has a hook and will carry you all the way from Chelsea to Glastonbury, without leaving the room, it weaves its tendrils of narrative genius within the mind and creates a truth, a truism, of exactly how things really were, in a world filled with hate, racism, war, and in one summer, a summer of love, a moment in time occurred, a rare and never revisited opportunity to bring peace love and harmony to that void.

This is a novel that must be read, it will bring a level of understanding to the quandary that the world finds itself within today. The author pulls back the curtains on a life without mobile phones, laptops and social media, he ushers you to live for a moment of an existence where people had to actually talk to one another, and at that specific moment of universal oneness, at this juncture of the space time continuum he reveals a most poignant tale of several timelines that existed in an era filled with possibilities that could have indeed changed the world forever, but somehow got lost in a new age of deceptive lust and greed.

Kurt Bongo and the Hippies is a work of creation that spills the beans on the 60’s, it tells it exactly how it is, a book that is real, organic and true. I would like to think that this will be a tale told by one and read by many, a story that maybe fiction, but it is exactly how it was and how (In a different guise) still is. Riveting stuff from a man who is not only a great musician, but a superb writer as well.

ByRolf Silvio Andreason 7 July 2017

A hippy book

What's going on here? Another hippie book? Ah, yes: Summer of Love, 50 years jubilee – 1967-2017. Right. Ghostwriters on your starting blocks … Ah, but not this one. This one rings true; even though the author, a musician and composer of some renown and contemporary himself, claims that none of it is autobiographical, some of the descriptions you couldn't dream up. And no, there is no VW bus sporting psychedelic colours and frilly curtains. Instead the author supplies remarkable views from the inside, in regard to music, the illusions of the young, the ever present prejudices prior to hippiedom. Prejudices which became obsolete during the Summer of Love as if by magic intervention. Yes, there's sex and drugs and rock and roll – however in specific detail, which elates you as a reader, keeps your interest from waning The lower aspects, on the crime level if you like, some threads remain unresolved, but that doesn't really harm the storyline. And just when you think that everything's been said and written about music, pop and rock music in particular, Mr Gromer Khan comes out with a turn of phrase that nearly makes you cry. And, by the way, the book also makes you laugh out loud. Yes, I should like to recommend this story, it makes excellent summer reading – in The Summer of Love, fifty years on.