How much do I want to read more? 6/10
You need to take quite some time to read such book. I didn't get deep enough to catch the message.
It's an autobiographical novel. About his parents, the places he's been, the people he met, and so on. The author style is good and not hard to understand. But it's kind of slow, with much description about many things I mostly don't care about. Just like reading a classic author, you might get lost in long paragraphs. And from time to time, there's a nice fact or description that really speaks to you. It's just lost in the mass.
Overall, you need time to read long enough to get the value of the book, I think.
I just noticed this is the same author of "New Seeds of Contemplation", which I loved so far: it's more straight-forward, to-the-point. And the topic catch you deep in the heart. Maybe I'll read this one with a new perspective from now on.
This autobiography came to be his first book at a young age (quite paradoxically). "New Seeds of Contemplation" on the other hand, came 14 years later. He cwrtainly matured during this time frame. Writing, like experience, changes you. It certainly helped him to explore new areas in his own self.
he had become a monk in order to leave his past life behind (as a writer).
Once he began to write, however, it poured out. “I don’t know what audience I might have been thinking of,” he admitted. “I suppose I put down what was in me, under the eyes of God, who knows what is in me.”
Two years before his death he wrote a preface to the Japanese edition of The Seven Storey Mountain, which contains his second thoughts about the book almost twenty years after he had written it:
A Note to the Reader by William H. Shannon
I see three principal ways in which The Seven Storey Mountain may surprise or confuse readers: the outdated religious atmosphere that pervades it; the missing information a reader would like to have but on which the author is silent; the interpretation the writer gives to his story.
I had an imaginary friend, called Jack, who had an imaginary dog, called Doolittle. The chief reason why I had an imaginary friend was that there were no other children to play with, and my brother John Paul was still a baby.
Mother did not mind the company I kept in my imagination, at least to begin with, but once I went shopping with her, and refused to cross Main Street, Flushing, for fear that the imaginary dog, Doolittle, might get run over by real cars. This I later learned from her record of the affair in her diary.
Mother wanted me to be independent, and not to run with the herd. I was to be original, individual, I was to have a definite character and ideals of my own. I was not to be an article thrown together, on the common bourgeois pattern, on everybody else’s assembly line.
It was for me personally, and it was in my mother’s handwriting. I don’t think she had ever written to me before—there had never been any occasion for it. Then I understood what was happening, although, as I remember, the language of the letter was confusing to me. Nevertheless, one thing was quite evident. My mother was informing me, by mail, that she was about to die, and would never see me again.