Richard Bach, author of the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull, needs no introduction. His flair for delving into the prevailing psyche of the 70s generation, offers insight into a world that was ever changing and grappling with a variety of issues. Naturally, the strength of the human spirit is a recurrent theme in Bach’s writings. His works, primarily semi-biographical, often feature an individual’s innate ability to expand their horizons and to transform themselves and their environment in the process.
One is yet another engaging work from this intelligent author. The novel opens with Bach musing about his life–how he had had to face several trials and tribulations. On his self-chartered plane, with his wife, to attend a conference in the sunny Los Angeles, he wonders what might happen if he gets a chance to go back in time. Would he change anything about his life?
Even as the ‘What if?’ thought plays on his mind, something peculiar happens. His wife and he are instantly teleported 25 years back in time, to the exact day when they had met each other at a hotel lobby. Only this time, their older selves are privy to the whole scenario playing out differently in a parallel universe.
What if they never ended up together? Bach builds on this intense fear and creates riveting stories in multiple parallel universes, each with himself and his wife as the protagonists. Each story has multiple emotions, all stemming from ‘What if?’ thoughts: What if we had a chance to go back and correct our past mistakes? What if we could travel forth in time and see the effects of the causes we create every moment, with our conscious and subconscious choices? What if the world we know of is only one of the many in which our consciousness resides? What if we can at any time giddy up and change the course of our own destinies? Through the course of this book, the author uses his love story as a fulcrum to delve into such questions.
Bach wrote this book during the waning years of the cold war, when the sword of a potential nuclear war had hung over humanity. In one of the chapters, we as readers live through his words the horrors of a nuclear strike in real time.
Bach wrote this book during the waning years of the cold war, when the sword of a potential nuclear war had hung over humanity. In one of the chapters, we as readers live through his words the horrors of a nuclear strike in real time. The death and destruction are too real for comfort, for any reader. With this, the author effectively drives home the probable plight of humanity in the light of continued spite and hatred.
By taking us through the multiple universes, Bach attempts to guide readers to the ultimate reality of our life–where we are above and beyond all our differences, where we are all one. To accentuate this idea, readers are also introduced to ‘Pye’, a single living entity in a future universe. She guides Bach and his wife through the various universes and imparts them the wisdom to glide in and out of them. In the end, Pye is what Bach and his wife ultimately become–conjoined together in body and thought.
Thus, through One, Bach presents how every individual is a part of the same consciousness, hidden behind varying depths of emotions and layers of thoughts. Through the several story lines of Bach and his wife, readers are reminded of the power ingrained within them to always make the right choices for the better of all humankind. The fact that One is a life lesson imparted as a quasi-science fiction, makes it a must-read and a page-turner at that.