Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss

Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss

'I loved this beautiful book. It's tender and compassionate, written with exquisite care and verve, and so so SO funny' MARIAN KEYESProfessor Chandra is an expert at complex problems. There's just one he can't crack: the secret of happinessIn the moments after the bicycle accident, Professor Chandra doesn’t see his life flash before his eyes, but his life’s work.He’s just...

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Title:Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss
Author:Rajeev Balasubramanyam
Rating:

Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss Reviews

  • Jaline

    Professor P. R. Chandrasekhar has been leading the kind of life he prescribed for himself 45 years earlier when he left India at the age of 24. With a few alterations. He is 69 years old and although he is Professor Emeritus in Economics at a college in Oxford, the big prize, the one he has worked so hard for, has been elusive. His marriage fell apart a few years before when his wife left him for another man. They, and the Professor’s youngest

    Professor P. R. Chandrasekhar has been leading the kind of life he prescribed for himself 45 years earlier when he left India at the age of 24. With a few alterations. He is 69 years old and although he is Professor Emeritus in Economics at a college in Oxford, the big prize, the one he has worked so hard for, has been elusive. His marriage fell apart a few years before when his wife left him for another man. They, and the Professor’s youngest daughter Jaz (Jasmine) live in Colorado which makes it difficult for regular physical contact.

    His ex-wife calls him Charles, most people call him Chandra (or Professor Chandra), and sometimes Chandu. Chandra’s son, Sunny (Sunil) is in Hong Kong doing some kind of business seminars, and what’s worse, he is very successful at it and doesn’t hesitate to let his father know. Chandra is estranged from his eldest daughter, Rad (Radha), and with Jasmine so far away, Chandra assesses his life and finds it wanting. He works harder and believes that if he can reach his goal of ultimate success, the rest of his life will fall into place as well.

    Then, he is in an accident. With a bicycle. He ends up in hospital because he also had a “silent” heart attack. His doctor is American and lets him know quite firmly that he is not to return to work for several months. He advises him to take a sabbatical, and cheerily suggests he “follow his bliss”.

    This story has humour in it but it definitely isn’t comic. The humour is often dry – the kind where you blink and you might miss it, but you have a grin on your face anyway. It is also witty, and sometimes I could envision a winking emoji lurking somewhere in there.

    For me, this novel is first and foremost about an older professional man who has an epiphany of sorts and begins to look at his life, and himself, with lenses that seem to be a stronger prescription than before.

    His epiphany isn’t like a big light bulb going on over his head. It is more like a faulty set of Christmas lights with miniature bulbs that light up in a pattern – only the pattern seems to keep changing. The adventures that Chandra experiences in pursuit of the faulty little bulb (or bulbs) in the light string results in one of the most entertaining and engaging books I have read.

    The author, Rajeev Balasubramanyam, is a hugely talented writer. To write about someone who is at a crossroad of crises in their life is not an easy undertaking. To do so with compassion, humour, deep insight, knowledge and wisdom is a glorious accomplishment.

  • Liz

    I'm a sucker for books about cranky individuals, curmudgeons, grumpy souls, if you will. Maybe I feel a kindred spirit. Professor Chandra is a professor emeritus in economics at Cambridge. He's just been passed over for the Novel Prize for the umpteenth time. His life is falling apart. He's wondering whether his life has any meaning. His wife divorced him three years ago and moved to Colorado. He has major differences with two of his three children. After he is injured in an accident it is stron

    I'm a sucker for books about cranky individuals, curmudgeons, grumpy souls, if you will. Maybe I feel a kindred spirit. Professor Chandra is a professor emeritus in economics at Cambridge. He's just been passed over for the Novel Prize for the umpteenth time. His life is falling apart. He's wondering whether his life has any meaning. His wife divorced him three years ago and moved to Colorado. He has major differences with two of his three children. After he is injured in an accident it is strongly suggested he take a sabbatical. He heads to the US to see his youngest daughter.

    Because of the title, I was expecting a humorous book. And there is some humor. But in truth, this is a heartfelt novel about losing and finding family, about the mistakes parents make with their children and how hard it can be to let them be themselves.

    The characters are fully formed. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, though it takes them a while to willingly show their weaknesses. Even those that could be painted a clichés are given redeeming traits.

    While this wasn't what I expected, I truly enjoyed it. Curmudgeon that I am, it took me by surprise that the author didn't make a stay at Esalen into a punch line.

    My thanks to netgalley and Random House for an advance copy of this book.

  • Diane Barnes

    3.5 stars

    This book was much better than I thought it would be, which is a strange comment, I suppose. I had signed up for it at my library, it came in, so I started reading what I thought would be a light, funny book about a curmudgeon. If it was no good, or too light and fluffy, I could just send It back to the library, no harm, no foul. It turned out to be much more than that, which delighted me; a complex story about a complex man trying to find himself after a lifetime of thinking he was alw

    3.5 stars

    This book was much better than I thought it would be, which is a strange comment, I suppose. I had signed up for it at my library, it came in, so I started reading what I thought would be a light, funny book about a curmudgeon. If it was no good, or too light and fluffy, I could just send It back to the library, no harm, no foul. It turned out to be much more than that, which delighted me; a complex story about a complex man trying to find himself after a lifetime of thinking he was always the smartest man in the room. A 69 year old Cambridge professor in Economics, an almost Nobelist, with an ex-wife and 3 children, 2 of them grown and estranged, the youngest still a teen-ager trying to find her purpose in the world, he's also a man who has worked hard for what he's achieved, and does not suffer fools gladly. He has an analytical mind and a sharp tongue, which does not bode well for either his students or his family, but gives this book a lot of humor.

    After being hit by a bike and suffering a heart attack, he is strongly urged to take a sabbatical, which he does by arranging a visiting professorship in California. Hence the bliss. This sets off quite a change of events, as Professor Chandra is forced to come face to face with himself, and doesn't really like what he sees.

    My biggest problem with this book is its title, which I think gives a potential reader the idea that this book is exactly what I first thought; a light, funny book about a curmudgeon. So those who do indeed want to read that kind of book are going to be disappointed that it goes into much deeper psychological territory. And those who want something more complex are never going to read it at all.

    Just so you know, this book is not what you think it is. It's better.

  • Angela M

    I read this because I was hoping for a lighter book. I routinely read so many books with heavy subject matter by choice, but I thought this would be a nice reprieve. While there is humor to be found here, it’s not what I would call a light read. There are some real issues to think about here - a broken family, a sad lonely man who has put himself and his career before his family and now feels like a failure in his career as well. I’m an outlier here since there are so many 4 and 5 star reviews.

    I read this because I was hoping for a lighter book. I routinely read so many books with heavy subject matter by choice, but I thought this would be a nice reprieve. While there is humor to be found here, it’s not what I would call a light read. There are some real issues to think about here - a broken family, a sad lonely man who has put himself and his career before his family and now feels like a failure in his career as well. I’m an outlier here since there are so many 4 and 5 star reviews. I can’t say I loved this story. The main theme - a older man reaches a point in his life where he does some soul searching and has regrets about the man he has been and is seeking to change and perhaps redeem himself for all of the things that he didn’t give his family. I didn’t find it to be original as there are so many stories covering the regrets people feel later in life about lost chances.

    While there were times when I felt sorry for Professor Chandra, I didn’t like him very much. He tries to figure out how he has failed with his children. Truth be known, they weren’t perfect and I didn’t like them very much either. Chandra has an accident which is the impetus for him to begin thinking about his life. He ends up attending a retreat at the recommendation of his ex wife’s husband called “Being Yourself in the Summer Solstice”. The group sessions where you bare your soul and get advice from others who are having issues of their own and where you actually bare your body sitting naked in the hot tubs having discussions felt contrived . He leaves after three days and is enlightened, but this self-help meditation, group thing just didn’t work for me. A way too predictable ending . As I said, even though the story didn’t feel new to me, there are some real family issues that a lot of readers will relate to. You should read the 4 and 5 star reviews.

    I received an advanced copy of this book from Random House/The Dial Press through NetGalley.

  • Bianca

    As you can tell from my rating, this was only an okay read for me.

    I don't know if it's the because of the title and/or the cover, but I was expecting something light, charming and whimsy.

    I usually like books about changing one's ways, finding one's bliss, although I roll my eyes at some of the pseudo-spiritual stuff some people get up to, while also being in the camp of if it makes them happy and doesn't hurt anyone ...

    But I don't know, I went with the flow but I always wanted to get out and do

    As you can tell from my rating, this was only an okay read for me.

    I don't know if it's the because of the title and/or the cover, but I was expecting something light, charming and whimsy.

    I usually like books about changing one's ways, finding one's bliss, although I roll my eyes at some of the pseudo-spiritual stuff some people get up to, while also being in the camp of if it makes them happy and doesn't hurt anyone ...

    But I don't know, I went with the flow but I always wanted to get out and do something else. If you don't care for the characters it's difficult to get invested in what happens to them. That's not to say the novel was bad, I just didn't quite feel it.

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