Free eBook Becoming a Mountain: Himalayan Journeys in Search of the Sacred and the Sublime (Audio Download): Stephen Alter, Stephen Hoye, Audible Studios: Audible Audiobooks –

Stephen Alter was raised by American missionary parents in the hill station of Mussoorie, in the foothills of the Himalayas, where he and his wife Ameeta, now live Their idyllic existence was brutally interrupted when four armed intruders invaded their house and viciously attacked them, leaving them for dead The violent assault and the trauma of almost dying left him questioning assumptions he had lived by since childhood For the first time, he encountered the face of evil and the terror of the unknown He felt like a foreigner in the land of his birth This audiobook is his account of a series of treks he took in the high Himalayas following his convalescence to Bandar Punch the monkey s tail , Nanda Devi, the second highest mountain in India, and Mt Kailash in Tibet He set himself this goal to prove that he had healed mentally as well as physically and to re knit his connection to his homeland Undertaken out of sorrow, the treks become a moving soul journey, a way to rediscover mountains in his inner landscape Weaving together observations of the natural world, Himalayan history, folklore, and mythology, as well as encounters with other pilgrims along the way, Stephen Alter has given us a moving meditation on the solace of high places, and on the hidden meanings and enduring mystery of mountains Good I bought this book after I visited Landour and saw the author s house Plucked straight from heaven, the charming cottage stands atop Woodstock school in Mussorie Idyllic house, idyllic job, but not so idyllic life I was shocked to hear about the gruesome attack the author suffered The first few pages of the book describe the pain and anguish and trauma of that nightmare.To heal the pain, Stephen embarks on a pilgrimage to Nanda Devi and other mountains in the Himalayas While the author provides great facts andfolklore of the mountains, it is the tone of the writing and narration which I find so disappointing I hate to say this, but the whole narration is dry Dry as a desert.Rarely do we come across dialogue or interesting characters Rarely the book sparks or touches your soul at times it can just be one long monotone And I think its because the presentation of the whole matter is highly intellectualThe author is an atheist, but he often talks about the Divine and spirituality Which is fine, especially cause he is kind and open minded But hell, you cant find the Divine in books, or by intellectualising And that s what the author does for most of the book.The book lacks heart, it lacks poetry the poetry of say Ruskin Bond, who is from the same locality who carries his writing and spirituality with such easy grace.Disappointed. Although Stephen Alter calls himself an atheist, his close observation and praise of nature indicates otherwise He has an eye for detail so far as Flora and fauna are concerned and after a murderous assault on him and his wife nothing could have been better than visiting Nanda devi, Kailash and Bandarpunch His detailing of the minutest things like snow, hills, flowers, sunlight, mist, snow, rain cold is extraordinary The book keeps you spellbound although it s no thriller His wonderful observations of the nature and natural phenomena draws one into believing that one is a co traveller of Stephen This is the second book of Alter which I am reading after the great travelogue Amritsar to Lahore Overall a great book. Becoming a Mountain is one of the best travelogue i have come across in a long time, not only it fulfills a traveler s emotional spiritual pursuit for high places, it successfully uplifts an individual being to a wider meaning of Sublime..which author has beautifully described many times throughout the narrative of this book.References of other authors mountaineer s experiences at sundry places make it a rich, knowledgeable interesting read throughout Stephen has beautifully described the shamanistic link between the human race and other creatures on this planet as to how we co exist by understanding each other s territories, limitations and rights in background of mountain s sacredness His references of Flag Hill and from there an urge to keep moving led him to trek to Nanda devi, Mt.Kailash Bandarpunch is a fascinating account of journey written with a beautiful prose..Individually I could connect at many places with author s longing for solitude, walking, unraveling myths, folklore legends associated with these mountains, aestheticism and meaningful view of religion life, nature healing spirituality.Its aptly said Its not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves