Book Review

One Man’s Path to Enlightenment Is Actually Drug Haze

The Sun Temple by B.F. Spath

***A huge thank you goes directly to the Author, B.F. Spath, who entrusted me with a copy of his novel in exchange for an honest review***

As a high school emo kid I remember wanting to prove that I understood deep meaningful literature. I too wanted to go on a journey of enlightenment through the pages of books. Others might have a hard time understanding, but I wouldn’t. I would “get it.” My first and only deep dive into this was when I attempted to read Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs. I made it five pages before I realized, “hmmm, I really don’t get this.” Then I proceeded to put it on my bookshelf and have not touched it for years. I feel like B.F. Spath‘s The Sun Temple is in the same vein, but the difference here is I actually read a bit further.

One could easily say that this is a story about a man’s enlightenment. However, one could also surmise that there is more at play here than simply a man who chooses to worship a Sun God in order to find that enlightenment. The narrator traverses New York through a thick haze of cannabis day dreams and comes out the other side changed somehow, even if you don’t yet know it.

GOOD: Though the narrator may be just this side of insane, that doesn’t seem to be the point. I did enjoy the ride through New York. Even if it was on the handlebars of a cannabis loving, sun-worshiper. You begin to feel what the narrator is feeling and it leaves you in a kind of manic state.

We follow the narrator as he leaves his apartment and wanders around The Old Battery (Battery Park). He describes the buildings he passes, the structures surrounding him. He introduces us to the people he meets both inside and outside the park. Some he likes, most he doesn’t.

It was kind of hard to understand what exactly his relationship with the Sun was. There are parts in the story where it is clear that he is worshiping it like holy place. There are other times that he goes from admiring it, to being jealous of it, to yelling at it. He is also jealous of the other people who seem to just get the sun’s attention. In comparison to him who feels that he has to accomplish this great trek from his apartment to The Battery in order to be noticed.

Though I lacked an understanding of the plot beneath, I was able to at least experience the intensity. The narrator’s plight. To want something so badly, to be someone else. These are themes that are relatable and it makes the narrator relatable.

It’s an interesting read, one that can at least intrigue, but not one that is easily read. I’ll admit, it took me a long while to get through this story despite it being the length of a novella. I guess that goes to show that readability doesn’t equate to the amount of pages a book contains.

It’s also difficult because even by the end I don’t fully grasp the journey the narrator was on or what Spath wants me to take away from his story. There is a journey, that much I do know. But it doesn’t feel overarching like the standard heroes journey. That was one of the things I enjoyed about it to a certain degree, it was definitely out of my comfort zone, which I don’t get to experience much when reading.

I have a hard time saying that I would recommend this book, not because I don’t think people would get something out of it, but more so that I wouldn’t know who to recommend it to. That being said, I have to admit in the end, it was an interesting read.


3 out of 5 Stars

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