Reviewer June Maffin:Living on an island in British Columbia, Canada, Dr. Maffin is a neophyte organic gardener, eclectic reader, ordained minister (Anglican/Episcopal priest) and creative spirituality writer/photographer with a deep zest for life. Previously, she has been grief counselor, broadcaster, teacher, journalist, television host, chaplain and spiritual director with an earned doctorate in Pastoral Care (medical ethics i.e. euthanasia focus). Presently an educator, freelance editor, blogger, and published author of three books, her most recent (Soulistry-Artistry of the Soul: Creative Ways to Nurture your Spirituality) has been published in e-book as well as paperback format and a preview can be viewed on YouTube videos. Founder of Soulistry™ she continues to lead a variety of workshops and retreats connecting spirituality with creativity and delights in a spirituality of play. You can find out more about June by clicking on her Web Site.
It’s seldom that I find a book that resonates so deeply with every fibre of my being in so many ways, but this is such a book.
“Dear Reader, Remember when you believed you would change the world? It’s not too late. Let’s change the world together.” And with that short note to the reader, the author had my attention.
I couldn’t help but wonder - where would his novel go from here? How would the sub-title be addressed? And what was a Zor anyway?
The 1966 song “What’s It All About, Alphie”, the 2004 film “What The Bleep Do We Know” and many others have raised the everpresent “What is the meaning of life?” question and tried to make connections between philosophy, spirituality and science. In this brilliant novel, author J.B. accomplishes it through the persona of Zor in a series of interactions with Boston businessman John Brewster.
So, who is Zor? John Brewster introduces the reader to Zor this way: “There are two things you need to know about Zor. First – the man is brilliant. A native of Haiti, he stands less than five feet tall boasting broad shoulders and a muscular build. Classically handsome, with mocha skin and European features that suggest mixed ancestry. Zor is charmingly soft spoken with a disarming, Caribbean lilt. Second – he destroyed my life.”
And with that introduction, I was hooked. Woven throughout a plot that involves betrayal, a struggling marriage, alcoholism and suspicious business dealings, the reader discovers that John’s life is out of control. In conversations with Zor about negative ch’i, rewiring neuron networks, reductionism, addiction, entanglement, God, the collective unconscious, the Big Bang theory, meditation and more, John realizes that the beliefs he has held throughout his life no longer hold any veracity for him. In his interactions with Zor, John Brewster uncovers a new reality, wholeness and peace in his life as he discovers the true meaning of Metta. But, not without conflict and drama along the way.
This story powerfully addresses the synergistic connection between spirituality, science and philosophy (entanglement) in a compelling and easy-to-understand way. Zor offers the example of the tuning fork where vibrations of one tuning fork only affect another if they are identically calibrated. The more tuning forks one uses, the greater likelihood of finding another who will likewise be affected. Similarly, Zor says that prayer group members often comment that when they pray, they feel the energy (the positive ch’i). Zor notes that praying vigils are often successful because “the bigger the sample of people praying, the greater the likelihood of finding someone whose positive energy is on the same frequency.” Synergy. Connection.
It’s seldom that I find a book that resonates so deeply with every fibre of my being in so many ways, but this is such a book. I didn’t want it to end. I read it slowly, savouring each page, enjoying the plot and the intricate ways J.B. maintained the humanity of John Brewster and brought his years of research, wisdom and ch’i to the character of Zor who challenges the reader to think – really think about love, wholeness, peace – life.
I hope we haven’t seen the last of Zor.