by Michael Gurian
Viking Arkana, 273 pages
Life isn't easy for Ben Brickman. For as long as he can remember, he's felt as if he's been called to do something special, yet despite his spiritual searchings--with drugs, with grad school, and in his travels--he can't seem to figure out what that something is.
Enter Joseph Kader, Turkish seer-cum-anthropologist. Joseph and other mystics have been receiving visions from The Magician, a shadowy figure Ben has heard about through grad school contacts. Sensing a powerful energy in Ben, Joseph offers to take him to Turkey, where the Magician has been appearing to fellow travelers. The fireworks begin. Ben starts dreaming lucidly. It turns out that years ago, in his journal, Joseph had predicted that he and Ben would meet. The shamans and wise women Joseph introduces to Ben quickly see his power as well--he is the Messenger, an anointed one who will play a crucial role in the Magician's divine plan.
While the book has its hokey moments, "An American Mystic" is a page-turner. It's fascinating to watch Ben as he works his way through the various stages of spiritual development. The novel will prove a trusty companion to anyone on a similar path.