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Reviewed by Ann Linus for Readers' Favorite
When Arjuna leaves for the United States for his master's degree, the plan is clear: school for two years, get a good job, return to India and marry a family-approved wife, start a family in America, etc. But this plan succeeds only to the point of getting a good job. As fate would have it, Arjuna falls in love with Alice and marries her without his parents' knowledge. Hell breaks loose when they eventually find out, and Arjuna’s life takes an irreparable dive. A broken Arjuna returns to India seeking redemption, but the path he chooses leads him to Bhairav Jump, a suicide spot on the mountain where people jump to escape life and rebirth. This is only the beginning of Arjuna’s cathartic journey in The Road to Kedarnath by Immanuel Joseph.
Some books are better read more than once, and The Road to Kedarnath is one of them. The plot was refreshingly unique and excellently executed. The narrative fluttered between present and past, unraveling the full picture in little bits here and there, with never a dull moment. The story also explored India’s social culture and religion, which was an interesting experience. Albeit tumultuous and spiritual, Arjuna’s journey is laced with humor and irony. I am thrilled that I experienced a new level of spiritual enlightenment and awareness through Arjuna’s journey. This story felt so real, and there is a lot of wisdom to glean from it. Immanuel Joseph outdid himself here.
I experienced this book as an audiobook; it could not have been better. The narrator, Alan Matthews, did an excellent job of capturing each character's voice and tone, and the reading was evenly paced and hitch-free. The narrative was garnished with sweet musical interludes (music by Amutan Sunda). The Road to Kedarnath is a story about grace and redemption. It was a refreshing experience for me, and I strongly recommend it.