I received a copy of Bashert by Herb Freed from the publisher in exchange for my review. I found this book a bit strange. It was full of drug-induced hallucinations and mysticism. The weirdest thing though was that it was called a novel, but the main character and the author have identical life stories. The only thing that is not the same about them is that the main character was not called Herb.
“Dan Sobol and Marion Gladstone meet by chance at a screenwriter’s event in Los Angeles. He’s a rabbi turned director known for his cinematic television commercials; she’s a writer and film editor who is recovering from a tabloid-headline screaming Hollywood divorce. From the moment Marion hears Dan’s voice, she knows—and so does he. It’s bashert. But when did the course of true love ever run smooth? Dan and Marion are soon partners in business as well as life, traveling the world to create movies. He directs, she writes and edits, and life becomes an amazing adventure—until Cancun. There, among the ruins of the Mayan civilization, Marion has an eerie premonition that has the potential to change everything.”
While this book was not hard to read, I had a hard time following what was real and what was hallucinated. And also, what was real and what was fiction, as the story was obviously at least in part biographical. Sadly, Dan’s wife Marion has passed away after battling Lupus. Another confusing point was that they were told they had a way to stop the pain of Lupus, and then Marion passes anyhow. I don’t believe this was ever explained. Dan is now living the pain of the loss of his Bashert – which means soul mate in Yiddish. Dan heads to Jamaica to reunite with his best friend’s daughter – who Marion basically raised as her own. Molly is missing Marion as much as Dan does, and she hopes to bring Marion back through some sort of mystical ritual at a waterfall.
My favorite part of the book may be the belief in a love so strong that it transcends both life and death. I think Freed did a good job of describing the concept of Bashert – there is even a cute part of the book where Dan meets a Jamaican man who knows the meaning of Bashert from a song that is famous in Jamaica, and it turns out that this song was written because Marion taught the song writer the concept. I love little coincidences like that in story telling!
As you can probably tell, I had a bit of a mixed reaction to this book. I like the concept and the writing, but I wasn’t as impressed by the hallucinations!
What have you been reading lately?