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Writers Inspiring Change feature book review: The Oarsman

The Oarsman, by Zubin Mathai, is a wonderfully inspiring read, undoubtedly one of the more beautifully penned literary works. Like the famous, Alchemist, which this book parallels in style, The Oarsman is eloquently written, with a river of imagery and metaphors. It is a book which transcends the world of pure humanity, by showing us that there is a collective force, empowered by love and our innermost spiritual essence, which is far more relevant and eternal, than all the world around us. To get a sense of the nature of the writing, here are a couple lines: "The clouds were puffy like sheep, the trees waved hellos, and the sky pulsed a heartbeat of blue." and "How beautiful...that innocence and love could paint a world more real than any brush against canvas." The story line follows the Old Man, the main character, as he searches out his life for reconciliation, a man who is seeking final peace, and who discovers, with the help of the Oarsman, an intriguing and adventure-filled world of his own past. Highly recommended. A book which reminds us of inner peace and beauty which transcends everything.

Review by International Writers Inspiring Change

About Zubin Mathai

I grew up in a suburb of Montreal, Canada, and even though my parents pushed me towards science, I was always drawn to more creative endeavors. I learned to program the family computer at twelve and loved making video games, adding ideas from my head to the blank-slate of the screen, typing until I saw robots or little aliens marching across the monitor. To fuel the daydreams I loved, I would write them out as a little kid, letting imagination paint words, and then letting the cadence of sentences feed back to spur on even more imagery. But, alas, I never wrote professionally when younger, instead choosing the life of a software engineer. I became an expert, started companies, and blazed trails through the internet, but still the passion to write kept nagging.

What prompted you to become a writer? In my late forties, I thought back to a trip I took at twenty-four, where I went to India, to the Himalayas, and lived and meditated for five months in a pristine forest by a rushing river. I felt peace rolling down the mountains back then, and it touched the tips of the trees, ignited the winds, and filled my soul. As I sat hunched over my computer one day, I remembered that precious feeling, and an ache to share what lay in my heart was reawakened. I thought again about writing.

What do readers like about your writing? From feedback, readers seem to like my poetic descriptions, my subject matter, and the feelings of love and silence I weave through words to bring the same to their hearts. They like that I am not preachy, for I am writing fiction instead of non-fiction, and so I stuff my stories with adventure, action, and interesting characters, all serving the subtle, spiritual themes spun through my tales.

Is there a message weaved into your writing? The stories I like to write are often about nature, since I live in a place that is surrounded by mountains and stillness. I write about the force of love painting self-recognition in people, animals, and everything that you meet throughout the day, and I write about how happiness is just beneath all our surfaces, just waiting to be rediscovered.

What is it that you want to inspire in others or change in the world through your writing? I hope that my writing inspires people to look at themselves anew, to freshly dive down to the truths at their cores. It is not a difficult journey, for it is the most natural, built-in to every last one of us, an ache to surrender to what you have always only ever been.

Tell us about your most recent book and why you wrote it? When I knew I wanted to write something, the idea came quickly. I thought about all the roles I had played in my life, from son to meditator, from addict to entrepreneur, and knew I wanted to use those roles to help paint a story of self-discovery. I set it against a fantastical backdrop, in the times of castles and knights, and wrote to release all the roles that were trapped in my heart. A few months later, I finished The Oarsman.

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