Finalist: 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Spirituality Category
"Brilliant photographs ... a talented writer ... her descriptions are lyrical and evocative." -- Kirkus Reviews
"This makes Eat, Pray, Love look like a summer vacation ... An important historical and spiritual journey told seamlessly." -- The BookLife Prize
In 1971, at age 20, Visakha had just published her first book and was beginning her ascent to fame and fortune through a career in photojournalism. She dreamed of bringing the people of the world closer by sharing their common kinship and values through her photographic essays. Then, at the invitation of her college boyfriend, John Griesser, who was working on his MFA thesis in India, Visakha traveled east, where she first learned about bhakti yoga - the yoga of devotion - from a simple Indian sage, Prabhupada, and his Bhagavad-gita As It Is. The bhakti tradition seemed irrelevant to Visakha, and she rejected it.
Five Years, Eleven Months and a Lifetime of Unexpected Love is Visakha's deeply personal account of the emotional upheaval caused by her doubting her own cherished convictions, by her discovery that the alarmingly unreasonable - bhakti - could gradually become alarmingly reasonable. Visakha portrays her own and others' experiences in India, Europe, and the United States as they grapple with knowledge and a culture that is at once utterly foreign yet also resonant with their hearts. And she reflects on the profound, life-altering questions that we all sometimes ask. Written by a fellow seeker who maintains a healthy dose of skepticism, this is the heartwarming, funny, colorful, bizarre, surprising, informative, and upending true story that will help questioner-skeptics see life from another perspective, one likely different from their own. In Five Years, Eleven Months, Visakha beautifully weaves together her personal losses and gains with an age-old tradition that enfolds her, creating a moving narrative for anyone who has ever asked, "Why?"
"One of the best memoirs conveying the power of the spiritual that I have ever come across." -- Graham M. Schweig, Ph.D., Berkeley Graduate Theological Union
"This book will give pleasure and wisdom to many people for many years to come." -- Howard J. Resnick, Ph.D., Harvard University