This unique coming-of-age fable blends the philosophical and metaphysical in a search for truth.
Few have pulled off writing a book that seeks to be both fiction and nonfiction, and even The Alchemist gets placed in the pseudo-spiritual self-help bin by those with no patience for the allegorical or fabled in fiction. Lemonade Revealed fits in that same tradition. It strives to turn the simple story of a castaway searching for his identity into a discourse on the meaning of life.
This castaway, who discovers his name is Iota, washes up on an island paradise called Ahio, somewhere in an area known as the Pacific Triangle. Rescued by three strangers—a priest, a warrior, and a trader—this boy must find his way.
Living in turn with each of the men, Iota must choose who will be his guardian, even as he strives to find out his parentage. Iota learns sword fighting and other survival arts from the commander of Ahio, but he leans toward the kindly Father Rene, who can sate his curiosity: “My mind, it seemed, was hungry for Truth.” Meawnwhile, Iota seems unaware of the peril the island community is in, having lost its king in a shipwreck. Its only source of wealth has been destroyed so that their sugar fields don’t fall into the hands of an evil queen living on a nearby isle.
While the author’s apparent objective is to engage readers in a timeless story, he falls short largely because the literary elements are not honed well enough to sustain the narrative or elevate its message above simplicity.
The language veers between fairy-tale inferences (“The King’s hands trembled under his robe as his stately frame rose toward the podium”) and new-age truisms (“If then the Universe has colluded to bring us to where we are, would it not also guide us into our future?”), with some modern-day vernacular (“Feel free to hassle the kind granny at the office if you need anything!”) and psychobabble (“The dreams manifested his anxieties—infrastructure, economy, defense.”) thrown in. There is also an over-reliance on adverbs, which further weakens the writing, as in “he lowered his voice to a sinisterly whisper” or “the stranger replied clairvoyantly.”
Will Chluho is a student of philosophy and religion. He served as a Franciscan friar and as creative director of several “brands” including Singapore Airlines. This book is his debut, the first of a planned trilogy. It is aimed at urban executives who seek respite from “pace-saddled first-world cities” and at readers of inspirational material.
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