Advance Notice from India
India has a way of getting under one's skin, and for some of us, for mysterious karmic reasons, it goes straight to the soul and stays there, utterly transforming one's life. Robert McGahey is one so blessed, and the tale he elegantly weaves is one of repeated transformation through pleasure and pain, losses and gains, and lessons learned in both hard ways and happy ways. All readers stand to benefit enormously from those life lessons; the author's insights are personal, and also perennial. And old India hands and armchair travelers alike will be enthralled by his adventures, observations, and discoveries. I've been to India many times, and will see it anew the next time I go, thanks to this book. -- Philip Goldberg, author of American Veda and The Life of Yogananda
Robert McGahey’s India: A Love Story is three things in one: an exhaustive spiritual autobiography, a compelling Asian travel narrative, and the epic saga of a difficult marriage between two pilgrims in love with India and each other. McGahey is a worthy guide. Adeptly limning Hindu mythology, Jungian archetypes, and India’s kaleidoscopic hyperrealism, his long journey in search of “the fellowship of the undeceived” is itself, in its way, an archetypal Boomer pilgrimage, literary kin to Bob Dylan’s musical trifecta, “Isis,” “Idiot Wind,” and “Sara,” in which a "mystical wife” serves as lodestar, symbol and finally a version of Plato’s cave. Good stuff. — Alan Davis, author of So Bravely Vegetative and co-editor of Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan
“A Love Story” is a perfect subtitle for Robert McGahey’s wonderful book on his life in India. As a reader you are taken deep into the unique mixture of sensuality and spirituality that makes this mystic land so culturally rich. You follow the adventures of an eternally young man through relationships, learnings and embarrassments. Down in the thick sediment of it all you glimpse profound revelations about the meaning of life. And all of this is served with beautiful, mature prose. -- Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul and Soul Mates
When Robert McGahey spent a Fulbright year traveling and teaching in central India, had he any idea the impact the time would have? If not quite Shakespeare’s seven ages of man, his life was not far off. As a student away from parental home and college, he sowed wild oats as few manage to do. It was the 1970s, the years when Saddhu hippies experimented, enjoyed, and enthused. But then his term there ended and he left, still under the spell of the traditional music, echoes of shared sessions singing and playing classical instruments rarely heard in North America.
Back teaching in the States for ten years, he married a Jewish doctor reluctant to venture to India but soon captivated by both the country and his enthusiasm. They honeymooned across Asian countries, and Judi is captivated, increasingly dedicated to the more spiritual lifestyle.
If this eloquent memoir focused solely on the mysticism and music, on the natural beauty of vast sweeps of the country, the ashrams where they stayed ranging from sparse to enchanting, this story would hold the reader. But over and again, the author’s wicked sense of humor bubbles up as he relishes his experiences from youth to late middle-age. Laugh out loud passages delight as he recognizes eccentricities enmeshed in spellbinding surroundings.
Later, distressed by the turbulence of modern India’s overwhelmed cities, endless commotion, he recognizes both he and his marriage have changed, and confesses his romance with India wavers. ‘I long for the beauty, the quiet of bicycles, and the deep religiosity of my India. The Indian middle class, now legion, has betrayed me and their heritage as well.’ -- Jane Manaster, San Francisco Book Review
"India: A Love Story is an arresting and heart-warming autobiographical story. From Harvard to Bombay to the mountains of rural North Carolina, McGahey takes us through the steps of his dance of love. In the end, it is his love for love that puts him behind the wheel and guides him along the road to a Higher Love, taking us more than willingly along the way." --Thomas Rain Crowe - author of Learning To Dance (Selected Love Poems) and Zorro’s Field
“[McGahey] is a skillful writer, and this travelogue and soul-searching confessional features prose that is evocative and even entrancing. —Kirkus Reviews