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

  • Ivonne Rovira

    Pity poor Cambridge don P.C. Chandrasekhar — an internationally renowned economist and arrogant curmudgeon shortlisted for the Nobel Prize who goes by Professor Chandra. His wife Jean left him for a shallow child psychologist, whom she followed to Colorado; unfortunately, Jean also took Chandra’s teenaged daughter Jasmine in tow. His workaholic son Sunny has become “the brown face of global corporatism,” while his daughter Radha has become the argumentative comic-book version of a Marxist revolu

    Pity poor Cambridge don P.C. Chandrasekhar — an internationally renowned economist and arrogant curmudgeon shortlisted for the Nobel Prize who goes by Professor Chandra. His wife Jean left him for a shallow child psychologist, whom she followed to Colorado; unfortunately, Jean also took Chandra’s teenaged daughter Jasmine in tow. His workaholic son Sunny has become “the brown face of global corporatism,” while his daughter Radha has become the argumentative comic-book version of a Marxist revolutionary. Needless to say, Chandra doesn’t have a good relationship with any of them; in fact, Radha has refused to see or even speak to her father in years. But it’s only after he’s hospitalized because of a collision with a cyclist that the 69-year-old Chandra begins to realize that he’s on the wrong track:

    Pushed into attending a New Age seminar on the California seaside, Chandra begins to realize that it’s never too late to change course. This feel-good story, loaded with insight and humor, could easily have felt contrived, twee or manipulative, but author Rajeev Balasubramanyam never makes a false move. I could hardly pull myself away from its pages. The ending was satisfying without ever being hectoring or implausible. I cannot wait to read Balasubramanyam’s earlier work,

    .

    In the interest of full disclosure, I received this book from NetGalley, Random House and The Dial Press in exchange for an honest review.

  • 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.

  • Faith

    Chandra is a 69 year old economics professor at Cambridge.

    He’s been shortlisted for the Nobel Prize several times and his most recent failure to be selected is weighing on him. Other sources of stress are his divorce from ex wife Jean and separation from his children. Seventeen year old Jasmine lives with her mother and step father in Boulder, Colorado. Her older brother Sunny owns a successful business institute in Hong Kong based on the concept of “capitalist mysticism” (basically greed is go

    Chandra is a 69 year old economics professor at Cambridge.

    He’s been shortlisted for the Nobel Prize several times and his most recent failure to be selected is weighing on him. Other sources of stress are his divorce from ex wife Jean and separation from his children. Seventeen year old Jasmine lives with her mother and step father in Boulder, Colorado. Her older brother Sunny owns a successful business institute in Hong Kong based on the concept of “capitalist mysticism” (basically greed is good and you can get whatever you want through positive thinking). Eldest daughter Radha is an activist who has been estranged from her father for the last two years. Since his divorce Chandra sees himself as “...an Indian Miss Havisham with an Emeritus Professorship and a takeaway menu.” After a health scare, he is advised by his doctor to take some time off and follow his bliss, so he heads for the warm climate of Los Angeles for a sabbatical.

    I thought Chandra was a great character, pompous and arrogant but also loving and insecure. There was a little too much navel gazing in this book for me, but I enjoyed reading about Chandra’s search for self knowledge. Although every conversation Chandra had with his ex wife or children seemed to be fraught, the book also had a lot of wit and sharp observations. There is no way I could not love a book that refers to Trump as “the oaf who wouldn’t know a demand curve if it wrapped itself around his pizza-laden stomach“. I liked the author’s writing style and would be happy to read more by him.

    I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  • Janet Newport

    Thank you NetGalley and Random House for this arc.

    I usually read mysteries / thrillers / action adventure stories..... usually much faster paced books. But I found this to be a very nice slow read. First though, I must comment that the reader have at least fifty years under their belt so they can properly enjoy it. This is an adventure story of sorts. Professor Chandra has reached the acme of his professional life and has to reconcile with himself that he may never attain all of his earlier prof

    Thank you NetGalley and Random House for this arc.

    I usually read mysteries / thrillers / action adventure stories..... usually much faster paced books. But I found this to be a very nice slow read. First though, I must comment that the reader have at least fifty years under their belt so they can properly enjoy it. This is an adventure story of sorts. Professor Chandra has reached the acme of his professional life and has to reconcile with himself that he may never attain all of his earlier professional dreams and aspirations (the Nobel Prize). This book is the story of his reassessment of his life, his world, his place in that world, his family and where he fits into all of it. Fortunately, he has opened his mind and his story forward is very engaging.

  • 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.

  • Marjorie

    Professor Chandra was sure he would win the Nobel Prize as an economist, but no, he misses it yet again. Winning this prize has become a necessity for his happiness in his mind. He’ll need to work harder next time. But when he’s the victim of a bicycle hit and run, he begins to re-assess his life and work. He focuses on his relationships with his children and ex-wife. He’s been estranged from his oldest daughter for years. He rarely sees his son who lives in Hong Kong. His youngest daughter live

    Professor Chandra was sure he would win the Nobel Prize as an economist, but no, he misses it yet again. Winning this prize has become a necessity for his happiness in his mind. He’ll need to work harder next time. But when he’s the victim of a bicycle hit and run, he begins to re-assess his life and work. He focuses on his relationships with his children and ex-wife. He’s been estranged from his oldest daughter for years. He rarely sees his son who lives in Hong Kong. His youngest daughter lives with the professor’s ex-wife Jean and her present husband Steve in Colorado. So Professor Chandra embarks on a self-awareness journey.

    This is a very humorous, delightful book that takes a look at some quite deep issues. It’s not a laugh-out-loud type of book but rather prompts a chuckle now and then. I found the Professor and his adventures to be very realistic and there were many times throughout the book that I just wanted to give him a hug. For the past couple of years, I’ve been on a spiritual journey myself, leading me to the law of attraction, meditation, Reiki and qi-gong so I was very receptive of this author’s message. Regardless of that, it’s quite an entertaining book.

    Recommended – take a journey with Professor Chandra to make some uplifting discoveries for yourself.

    This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.

  • 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.

  • K.J. Charles

    I enjoyed this massively. Chandra is a Cambridge economics professor with a failed marriage and estranged or troubled adult kids, who has failed to win the Nobel prize again and is just waking up to the realisation that he might have made a mess of his life.

    This is not, let me say, a book about a middle aged academic discovering himself with the aid of a sexy manic pixie much younger woman. Nobody needs that book. Chandra is 70 and his main issue is the rising awareness that he hasn't actually

    I enjoyed this massively. Chandra is a Cambridge economics professor with a failed marriage and estranged or troubled adult kids, who has failed to win the Nobel prize again and is just waking up to the realisation that he might have made a mess of his life.

    This is not, let me say, a book about a middle aged academic discovering himself with the aid of a sexy manic pixie much younger woman. Nobody needs that book. Chandra is 70 and his main issue is the rising awareness that he hasn't actually done well by his wife and kids, and perhaps might not have been completely right about everything all along. The book is basically him opening up to understanding himself, trying to do a bit better and break out of toxic patterns, and understanding that he isn't the centre of the world and his changed feelings don't necessarily matter to other people.

    Which sounds a bit tiresome but isn't, because Chandra is a fantastic character--centre-right, tendency to be opinionated battling with a general decency, spectacularly grumpy attitude to students that's hilarious till you see how he turned it on his kids, and a very funny narration.

    He "follows his bliss" in large part by going to a Californian hippy bullshit retreat (for complicated but hilarious reasons). This is treated as both funny and serious--pampered self-indulgent Americans talking about their feelings is never not mockable, but the book also identifies real pain and emptiness, and Chandra's back and forth with the experience is fascinating because it does give him something he needs.

    It's not a plot driven story, it's very much about this fractured, unhappy family who've hurt each other finding ways to get past that, which is quite enough. I cared intensely about them doing that, and basically went through this like a buzz saw.

    Perfect summer reading--funny, sharp, kind hearted. I laughed out loud several times and had a little cry at the end. Can't ask for much more.

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