Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Jonathan Livingston Seagull is an incredibly famous book, probably the most famous book by Richard Bach (and he has written some other famous books such as One, Brodge Across Forever, Flight from Safety), and so on. The book is a very short novel, and many people can actually read it in one sitting without too much of a worry. However, the worth of the novel is in appreciating the contents of the book, so don't be too surprised if I say that I have read the book many number of times.
The novel in fact does not even cover any humans, and is all about seagulls (actually covering a seagull named as Jonathan Livingston). The book, covering his life, his fights and his struggles, is all about inspiration and the attempt to achieve what one is determined to do in life. So, Jonathan Livingston Seagull is a seagull who feels different from the other seagulls. He wants to feel the pleasure of flying, and exults in going faster and faster. Unfortunately, this goes against the code of the community, where flying is a means to and end, and flying fast or going outside the code is not recommended.

Johnathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

He is warned, and refuses to heed the warning, until he is exiled from the community one day. This means that he will not be with the community of other seagulls, and they will not talk to him. He is sad about this, but his ambition is to gain control of fast flying, something not easy to do so. One day he has to suddenly deviate from his flight pattern in order to avoid a young one, and his new path takes him into the cliff-face, but he does not crash and die, instead he moves into a different plane. He now has certain powers, one of the few who have tried to do this and succeeded. Ultimately, he learns that Heaven is not a physical place, but the concept of attaining perfection. He then becomes a teacher, teaching other defiant young gulls the same art. I will not tell too much more, this is a book worth reading.


Geet said...

This was the first Richard Bach book I read. He is one of those few living geniuses, who have the ability to reflect human condition without using human beings.

A good post, though I can't help but wish that you had elaborated on the underlying themes too :)

Ashish said...

Actually, I wrote this post when I was thinking about the book (having last read it some years back), and I have always found it difficult to explain what I liked in the book and its concepts; nonetheless, it has had a deep impact.