The author, Doug E. Jones, sent me a copy of this book in exchange for my review. Doug E. Jones holds a degree in English Literature and has lived and worked in a number of countries. He worked as a writer for the television show “Charmed.” Nowhere To Goa: Bhang Lassis, Rickshaws, and Holy Cows! is his first novel. For more information about the Doug E. Jones and his work, visit his website. You can connect with him on Goodreads, Facebook and @Freshguy88. Doug E. Jones graduated from UCLA with a degree in English Literature and a minor in Creative Writing. He has worked overseas in Australia, Japan, and Costa Rica and traveled extensively in Thailand, Nepal, and India where his novel takes place.
Nowhere To Goa is a travel adventure novel that takes off when Scott, a studious sophomore at Northwestern University, flies halfway around the world to bring home his troublesome twin brother who has just been released from jail in India after a run-in with the law; something to do with a bhang lassi, a rickshaw, and a holy cow! But when his brother proves hard to reel in, Scott’s three day jaunt turns into an epic journey, taking him from the islands of Thailand to the mountains of Nepal, from India’s Pushkar Camel Fair to the sacred Ganges River, and ultimately to the balmy beaches lining the Arabian Sea, where the story reaches its climatic finish at one of Goa’s infamous Full Moon Parties. In trying to find his brother, Scott loses himself in the pursuit of knowledge, purpose, and love as he hitches a hedonistic ride on South East Asia’s backpacker scene and the quest for the endless summer that has him questioning everything he has-and hasn’t learned.
This book has everything you wish. Travel adventures, emotions and humor. Nowhere To Goa: Bhang Lassis, Rickshaws, and Holy Cows! is funny, insightful and poignant. Scott is accustomed to the weight of expectation and responsibility. He and his parents have been living as a unit apart from his twin, Mike. Scott almost seems to view himself as a trainer to an animal he loves dearly, but knows will one day bite him. Mike’s been the only really unpredictable element in Scott’s life and while Scott loves him dearly, he’s more a responsibility than a unified part of Scott’s life. Mention of Mike is not welcomed with joy because his name coming up, always means something has gone horribly awry. When Scott arrives in India and starts looking for Mike, he finds that things are perhaps worse for his brother than he thought, and the need to locate his brother is more urgent than previously suspected. Mike seems to be on his own pursuit of sex, and drugs and rock-and-roll. Scott tells us early on, after discovering that his brother had headed for the Himalayas, that he rarely lost his temper, but when he loses his temper its almost always because of his brother who he sees as an impulse driven hedonist…and as someone who needs saving. There is no one on this planet that knows more of the answers than a 19-year-old. It is in the transformative moments as Scott experiences in Nowhere To Goa: Bhang Lassis, Rickshaws, and Holy Cows! that he comes to realize how little he truly knows. Throughout the course of his adventure, Scott is reading Breakfast of Champions: A Novel by Kurt Vonnegut and keeping a journal of his thoughts. This particular Vonnegut novel runs a heavy theme in the story is probably one of the most brilliant pieces of meta-fiction ever written. If you have not read this book, it’s one of my favorites of Vonnegut’s work and I urge you to run out and pick it up today.
Nowhere To Goa: Bhang Lassis, Rickshaws, and Holy Cows! is a very relaxed novel. Told in Scott’s voice, the flow is easy and relaxed. Per, a man met on the plane, acts as a bit of a common-sense guide to a character thrown into a culture. After Scott loses a ton of money in a case of mistaken identity in exchange for a cup of chai and a hand job, Per helps Scott make sense of why Mike might go where he’s headed. He also acts in a sense as a travel mentor to the younger man. I really liked Nowhere To Goa: Bhang Lassis, Rickshaws, and Holy Cows!. I found the novel to be personable, engaging, expertly written and wholly engrossing. I recommend this for anyone who likes travel novels, coming of age stories or just generally good fiction.
I write a lot, which keeps me off the streets and out of trouble. There is always something to write about, always a new story to craft. Not writing, for me, is like trying to hold back a sneeze. Learning to write was the most powerful influence in my life. I can still remember the awe I felt when I realized I could put real words onto paper and tell out a story. From that first ‘a-ha’ moment I knew I wanted to write.
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