The Half Known Life: In Search of Paradise by Pico Iyer
From Riverhead Books:
From “one of the most soulful and perceptive writers of our time” (Brain Pickings): a journey through competing ideas of paradise to see how we can live more peacefully in an ever more divided and distracted world.
“Nothing less than a guided tour of the human soul…A masterpiece.” — #1 New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert
“Immersive and profound…. Iyer matches penetrating insights with some of the most transportive prose around. This further burnishes Iyer’s reputation as one of the best.” — starred Publishers Weekly
Paradise: that elusive place where the anxieties, struggles, and burdens of life fall away. Most of us dream of it, but each of us has very different ideas about where it is to be found. For some it can be enjoyed only after death; for others, it’s in our midst—or just across the ocean—if only we can find eyes to see it.
Traveling from Iran to North Korea, from the Dalai Lama’s Himalayas to the ghostly temples of Japan, Pico Iyer brings together a lifetime of explorations to upend our ideas of utopia and ask how we might find peace in the midst of difficulty and suffering. Does religion lead us back to Eden or only into constant contention? Why do so many seeming paradises turn into warzones? And does paradise exist only in the afterworld – or can it be found in the here and now?
For almost fifty years Iyer has been roaming the world, mixing a global soul’s delight in observing cultures with a pilgrim’s readiness to be transformed. In this culminating work, he brings together the outer world and the inner to offer us a surprising, original, often beautiful exploration of how we might come upon paradise in the midst of our very real lives.