Mystic Fool by Andy Hill This is a tale of a nomadic traveler (Ian) drifting through South East Asia trying to find some meaning in his own life. He is a heavy drinker; the alcohol fuels his travels and at times perhaps his thoughts about life and spirituality. During his time in northern Thailand he meets an older man at a bar – perhaps a glimpse into his “future self”. This man imparts some wisdom and advice from his own years, as well as generosity in a mostly drunken state to Ian when he needs it the most.
When Ian later moves to the city of Korat (Thailand) you are gripping the novel in front of you but actually you are “there” too – experiencing every lonely thought and miserable feeling as he takes a job teaching English in a city where he connects with no one. I’m sure most independent travelers have been in this situation before.
Ian experiences lows and highs throughout the book. He is particularly “low” after he returns from Korat to Bangkok. He has no direction in his life or through his travels. Then he meets a woman in Bangkok who immediately lifts him up emotionally. He is attracted to her instantly like he’s known her for all his life – or perhaps from another life. She inspires him – he’s in love; eventually she gives him a wake up call that his continuous use of alcohol is not ok.
The story ends on a high note – certainly more optimistic from Ian’s perspective than he was for much of his travels. This is an engaging read from a number of perspectives – Ian’s personal adventures, the characters he meets on the way and his spiritual and underlying quest to learn more about his own life and how he fits into the overall universe.