Book Review: Instant karma

Wayne Sheldrake

Instant Karma: The Heart and Soul of a Ski Bum

ISBN: 9780979625503

by Beth Harper

    This debut offering from accomplished essayist Wayne Sheldrake takes the reader on a wild ride through an extended adolescence of manic energy and self-destructive adventuring in the company of outrageous characters.

    The following quote condenses the message of the book. 

    “To almost die and then live – it’s wild.  Surviving terror can lead to a kind of joy that makes the traumas of ‘real life’ seem less intimidating… Not that you’re suicidal.  It just means some people have to get close to death to figure life out – really close, so when they back off whatever it is they thought was so bad, it doesn’t look so bad anymore.… I guess that’s why we have amusement parks, and why so many people go – to get that feeling out of their system. Otherwise everyone would be as crazy as I was, trying to figure things out… Either that, or they’d be dead.”

    And so when the storyteller gradually settles into a slower, saner state of mind, it’s all the more poignant. You know the ending going in, since he’s here to tell the story, so that settling has to come eventually.  What you don’t know is how and when, what will be sacrificed, what will be almost lost but recovered.  In these discoveries you’ll find the resonance and grace of the story.

    Sheldrake weaves intense action and dialogue sequences, natural history and self-reflection with a deft and measured hand.  It’s a short book (174 pages), well-paced, absorbing enough to dash through in an evening, nuanced enough to go back and read again more slowly.  The author’s intense voice and relentless love of life permeate every page and bring a loose collection of anecdotes and reflections together into a cohesive whole.

    Watch for Wayne’s upcoming Forgotten Creek: Seasons on a High Country Homestead.

    Wayne will be speaking and autographing copies of Instant Karma at Spanish Peaks Library District from 10:30am-12pm this Saturday, May 24.