Sunday, October 24, 2010


The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude.
By Neal Pollack.
Harper Perennial, paper, $14.99.

Amy Rowland in The New York Times

In 2005, Pollack declared in the Book Review that he had discarded the caddish persona he had created for himself as “the Greatest Living American Writer,” a k a the Nealster. Now he gives us the dude who “in the walk of life” has “stepped in a big pile of yoga doo.” Pollack first narrates his fall from literary grace and explains how, after a particularly explosive “identity tantrum,” his wife suggested he try yoga. He does, and soon he is “on the way of the peaceful warrior.” Anyone who’s happened into a yoga class taught by an exoskeleton with breast implants will laugh at Pollack’s ridicule of the competitive strain in some New York studios. But the detailed descriptions of classes from Los Angeles to Thailand begin to read more like a compilation of magazine articles than a cohesive story of transformation. In an otherwise egocentric book, Pollack deserves credit for diagnosing universal existential maladies. But after many chapters of self-obsessed narrative, his own claim of self-realization falls flat: “I now realized that my search for a ‘best self’ had been off kilter, or at least off message; I began to understand, or at least to suspect, that my self as I constructed it in my head didn’t exist at all. In the face of the infinite and undefinable, how could anything that I’d ever done, said, thought or felt possibly have any significance? It couldn’t, because there was no ‘I.’ ” Although Pollack insists he is a new man, his literary persona still distracts. The yoga dude may be sitting on the mat, but the Nealster holds the pen.

1 comment:

Yoga said...

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