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Illusions by Richard Bach

Illusions (original 1977; edition 1981)

by Richard Bach

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3,476521,529 (3.93)35
Authors:Richard Bach
Info:Laurel (1981), Mass Market Paperback, 192 pages
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Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach (1977)

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English (48)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (51)
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какая-то ересь. читать невозможно. такие жутко тяг​учие бессмысленные диалоги. подача материала какая​-то обрубленная, грубая, необработанная. Напоминае​
прочел на морально-волевых) половину этой маленько​й повести, смысла не уловил. бросил. удивлен, что ​у этой книги такой высокий рейтинг.​ ( )
  Billy.Jhon | Apr 25, 2016 |
Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
by Richard Bach
Dell, 1981
ISBN 0-440-34319-4 (paperback), 192 pp.

Review date: April 2016

I wasn't totally impressed by Richard Bach's first bestseller, Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1970), and somewhat less so by his next, 1977's Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. Set in the American Midwest, it follows Richard, a rugged individualist (and thinly veiled version of the author) who earns his keep by offering recreational aviation services—that is, giving biplane rides to folks ten minutes at a time for three bucks apiece—and his new friend, Donald Shimoda, an erstwhile Messiah who gave it all up to return to his roots as a mechanic but has recently taken up the same occupation as the narrator himself.

Similar in its them to Bach's earlier bestseller, Illusions argues that physical reality is an illusion, that we all have the power to bend it to our will, and that there is no worthier goal in life than to recognize this and use the knowledge to please ourselves. Far more so than JLS, however, this book argues for a selfish hedonism, with any compassion or assistance to others being a fortuitous byproduct of our own pursuits—for no one has the power to force the course of another's life, and moreover, no one has the ability to truly affect another's life; we are responsible for our own happiness, our own sadness, our own pleasure, our own pain, our own lives, and our own deaths.

I have the same problem with this book that I do with the more recent bestseller, The Secret (2006), Sandra Byrne's self-help guide and New Thought tract: that is to say, its utterly self-centered delusional outlook on life.* I honestly can't fault Bach's craftsmanship—the narrative is actually a fine example of a novella or short novel, and the author's command of the English language and professional writing conventions is better than some other published authors'—but I also can't truly like the book. Yes, it's got some great quotable bits (OK, quite a few; and with intent on the author's part, I believe), and, yes, it, like the New Thought movement as a whole, has some good ideas at its core—maintaining a positive outlook, believing in oneself, having courage to follow one's own path, etc.—but like so many New Thought authors, Bach offers an extreme interpretation that, if followed, can lead only to conflict and violence as each human being selfishly pursues a life of unmitigated hedonism. Nonetheless, the book is fairly well written and not entirely unworth reading should one come across it and have an hour or two to kill. Moreover, as mentioned, it's chock-full of inspirational quotes, so for those who are into bibliomancy, a subordinate theme of the book, it might even be handy to keep a copy around for such use.

In the end, I give Richard Bach's semi-fictional, semi-inspirational, semi-mystical aviation fantasy novella, Illusions, two stars and leave it at that.

* In fact, I'm almost certain that Byrne drew from Bach's work when engaged in her own. In both books, one of the ways in which someone comes to discover that their magical thinking has power over external reality is that they create a very detailed image of a very specific feather—and fate conjures that very feather into their lives. Byrne presents her anecdote as fact, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that she lifted it from Illusions.



2 stars: It was OK. Whereas many reviewers tend to be more generous, most works I rate receive two or three stars. At this rating, all my expectations have been met; there are few technical, conventional, or factual flaws, if any, and I found the work to be mildly entertaining and/or sufficiently informative, but it wouldn't be at the top of my list of recommendations. There is a bit of subjectivity at work: some otherwise three-star works might end up here simply because their genre or subject matter doesn't appeal to me. Equivalent to a school grade of 'C', or average. ( )
  tokidokizenzen | Apr 19, 2016 |
Eh. Take it or leave it. I don't feel like I got gyped, but the thinking is too abstract for my literal brain. ( )
  CassandraSabo | Dec 5, 2015 |
On par with [b:Jonathan Livingston Seagull|71728|Jonathan Livingston Seagull|Richard Bach|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388189630s/71728.jpg|1743336], [b:The Five People You Meet in Heaven|3431|The Five People You Meet in Heaven|Mitch Albom|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388200541s/3431.jpg|2561472], and [b:Ishmael|227265|Ishmael|Daniel Quinn|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388180479s/227265.jpg|1041162]. Charming, fun, entertaining take on the human condition. Oozes with optimism and embraces zen self-contradiction. I can learn a lot from this by reading more slowly. ( )
  Victor_A_Davis | Sep 18, 2015 |
I read this classic years ago, and have now re-read it. It is a book one never forgets. I read it in Danish, so my quotes from it are my own translations from this language.

The teller of the story, Richard, is a pilot, who flies from town to town selling short rides in his plane for three dollars a ride. One day he encounters another pilot, Donald, who leads the same sort of life as himself, also travelling round selling rides in his plane.

Richard, which is of course the author´s name, notices from the start that there is something unusual about Donald. It is difficult to see him clearly, since he has a sort of halo around his head. Donald has been flying round for five weeks, but, still, his plane is squeaky clean, with no oil or dirt on it, no straw on the floor of the cockpit, and no crushed insects on the propeller. This is not possible.

The two become good friends and begin to fly together to the same towns. Strange incidents occur. One little girl, who is terrified of heights and flying, suddenly loses her fears in this respect after being with Don, and in fact decides to become a pilot herself. A man who arrives in a wheelchair is suddenly able to climb into Don´s plane unaided, and is apparently permanently healed.

The two have deep conversations. Don recounts how people used to flock to him to be healed, but he grew tired of this way of life and fled from it. He gives Richard a Messiah´s Handbook, which provides him with advice and wisdom.

For example:

“To learn is to find out what you already know.
To do is to show you know it.
To teach is to remind others that they know just as much as you.
You are all learning by doing, and by teaching.”

“The only obligation in any life is to be faithful to oneself.
To be faithful to anyone or anything else is not only impossible but the sign of a false Messiah.”

“The things you teach best are those things you most need to learn.”

“There is no problem that doesn´t contain a gift for you.
You seek problems because you need their gifts.” (So true!)

Don can land his plane in a very small space, on 30 metres of grass. (He has aviation skills like Jonathan Seagull, if you remember him!)

Richard gains much wisdom from his friendship with Don. He learns that what we regard as life is not real. He learns to walk on water and swim through earth.

This is an amazing book that will provide you too with much wisdom. It is an essential read. I recommend highly that you read it at least once in your life! You will not regret it, unless you are a hardened sceptic! ( )
  IonaS | Jun 12, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0099427869, Paperback)

In the cloud-washed airspace between the cornfields of Illinois and blue infinity, a man puts his faith in the propeller of his biplane. For disillusioned writer and itinerant barnstormer Richard Bach, belief is as real as a full tank of gas and sparks firing in the cylinders ...until he meets Donald Shimoda - former mechanic and self-described messiah who can make wrenches fly and Richard's imagination soar...In Illusions, the unforgettable follow-up to his phenomenal New York Times bestseller Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach takes to the air to discover the ageless truths that give our souls wings: that people don't need airplanes to soar ...that even the darkest clouds have meaning once we lift ourselves above them ...and that messiahs can be found in the unlikeliest places - like hay fields, one-traffic-light midwestern towns, and most of all, deep within ourselves.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:30 -0400)

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When two barnstorming adventurers meet in the fields of the Midwest, one of them begins to learn about the realities of his world and what caused a real Messiah to abandon his mission.

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