Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Mallon the Guru" by Peter Straub

Peter Straub is one of the greats genre writers I've never read before.

This is a tasty bit of his writing, but really it just left me wanting more. Which is a good thing. Sometimes.

Sometimes too, though, it makes the little bit seem insignificant and unworthy of attention. That's basically what happened here. It's a fine story. It's interesting and somewhat thought provoking, but I know that it won't be sticking with me the way "Goblin Lake" or even "The Knife" has. (And those weren't even the best in this collection.)

It's all about a self-absorbed American guru-wannabe, Mallon, together with his spiritual leader, Urdang, on their way to meet up with a real guru in India. An omen and a slight shift in the cosmic dance between life and death leaves Mallon on the wrong side of the spiritual equation.

It's not that it was a bad piece. It's not that it didn't entertain me. It's more that this is a book filled with big fish, and this is just a medium-sized fish. Not good, not bad. But forgettable. And, in the end, it's too abrupt. That's the only real criticism I can level against it.

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