Pico Iyer is one of my favorite writers, and he never ceases to amaze me with his candor and eloquent writing style. This book is a meditation on his trip to Japan following his father-in-law's passing. His words cause the reader to stop and meditate and ponder on his wisdom and many astute observations.
Iyer offers keen observations about the cultural highlights of his visit, discussing love, life, death, and much more. Pico-san, as his in-laws have come to call him, is a warm and welcomed visitor to this once-foreign land where he met his beloved wife.
He reminds us how sadness and grieving often lasts longer than our mere pleasures. As he deftly says, "Autumn poses the question we all have to live with: How to hold on to the things we love even though we know that we and they are dying. How to see the world as it is, yet find light within that truth" (p. 14). When it comes to death, he shares the wisdom of the Dalai Lama, who says, "Remember: Only body gone. Spirit still there. Only cover gone" (p. 188).
A poignant book that is not easy to put down.