Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant…

Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (original 1977; edition 2001)

by Richard Bach

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,597531,464 (3.92)36
Title:Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
Authors:Richard Bach
Info:Arrow Books Ltd (2001), Paperback, 144 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach (1977)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 36 mentions

English (50)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  Finnish (1)  All (53)
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly." ( )
  Yerk | Jun 9, 2016 |
I wrote a review and published it here: http://wp.me/p382tY-eR
Check it out! ( )
  Calavari | Jun 7, 2016 |
какая-то ересь. читать невозможно. такие жутко тягучие бессмысленные диалоги. подача материала какая-то обрубленная, грубая, необработанная. Напоминает чем-то книгу Дорога.
прочел на морально-волевых) половину этой маленькой 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. ( )
1 vote 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 |
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't.
First words
1. There was a Master come unto the earth, born in the holy land of Indiana, raised in the mystical hills east of Fort Wayne.
Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Information from the Japanese Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

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)

(see all 6 descriptions)

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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
53 avail.
28 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (3.92)
0.5 2
1 19
1.5 2
2 70
2.5 10
3 135
3.5 26
4 206
4.5 20
5 302

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,068,488 books! | Top bar: Always visible