Here is a stunning and detailled review for the Healer:
“Because I’m a fairly prolific reader I stumble across quite a few gems on an annual basis. The Healer is among those fortunate finds and is on my shortlist of favorite books read over the last few years. Granted I’m a sucker for a tale that interweaves the spiritual and metaphysical with the earthly and mundane, but even if I weren’t, the excellent writing on display here would have sucked me in.
Our heroine, suffering from Stage 4 cancer, having exhausted all that traditional medicine can do for her, finds herself at the mercy of a faith healer, a practitioner of alternative medicine, energy medicine and Qi Gong, Reiki, and much more. But his unique abilities go far beyond his adeptness with esoteric practices; he has the gift as it were. He presents as a guru type who is a lot more than mere hype, going from the well documented success stories working with people who were never suckers for New Age medicine. Quite the opposite. They were inclined like our heroine to be entirely skeptical and to have marched their way in and out of his care with an army of scientists to demonstrate that their incurable cancer had indeed been cured. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it kinda is.
The mysterious figure who she entrusts her life to is a complex, not exactly trustworthy figure. He reminded me of the spiritual guide in the Carlos Castaneda books who can’t be taken at face value, and who may be willing to teach and heal as much through treachery, menace, misuse of power, and whatever other entirely Machiavellian measures he deems necessary. And he is a man of some ego, no shortage of moodiness. And if there is something larger than life about him, there’s also something all too painfully human about him, and not in a good way. In short, I wouldn’t want to have to trust my life to this guy. He’s quite scary. And his actual motivations for getting involved with her therapy are never entirely clear. Is he a noble ends-justifies-the-means kind of guy, capable of thus rationalizing his totally unsavory tactics? Or are his ends every bit as uninspiring as his means?
Only through reading the book and taking the heroine’s journey with her can you come to truly know the answers to these questions. And as you do just that, you experience the terror along with her, the emotional doubts and insecurities, the ups and downs, the kaleidoscope of emotions on display that is dealing with death and dying in a truly self-transformative way; a way that forces self-transcendence to some degree, win, lose, or draw. You begin to wonder early on if her anxiety attacks, the parade of misgivings and paranoid ideation are part of the intense healing of mind, body and spirit that can only be accomplished with total surrender to a spiritual master—as legends tell us. Or if they’re simply entirely sane reactions to this bizarre healer and her fears are entirely justified.
I’ve read quite a few books penned by spiritual masters, including an unusual Russian figure by the name of Gurdjieff, and P. D. Ouspensky, one of his disciples who wrote heavily about him. Students’ accounts of Gurdjieff and what it was like to deal with the man and the healer were quite similar to what our heroine undergoes with her faith healer. Does that mark him as the genuine article? Or just another nut case, to whom she’s just signed over all of her wealth and belongings? Once again, you just have to take the journey to find out, and very possibly, in taking it with her, you’ll be more than just fascinated, you’ll undergo some healing, some transformation, and some self-transcendence yourself. Which I think is very much the point in a novel of this sort.
One of the best-in-class books I’ve ever read in this sub-genre of spiritual fiction. That also goes for books on people dealing with cancer and or some other terminal illness, and struggling with the self-transformative process that implies. So, needless to say, highly recommended.
When advertising executive Erica Whittaker is diagnosed with terminal cancer, western medicine fails her. The only hope left for her to survive is controversial healer Arpan. She locates the man whose touch could heal her but finds he has retired from the limelight and refuses to treat her. Erica, consumed by stage four pancreatic cancer, is desperate and desperate people are no longer logical nor are they willing to take no for an answer. Arpan has retired for good reasons, casting more than the shadow of a doubt over his abilities. So begins a journey that will challenge them both as the past threatens to catch up with him as much as with her. Can he really heal her? Can she trust him with her life? And will they both achieve what they set out to do before running out of time?