Book Review: The Buddha of the Brothel by Kris Advaya


ISBN: 978-9386538093

Genre: Non-fiction / Biographies

Publishers: Fingerprint Publishing

Price: Rs. 299/-  ( I got the book for review from the publisher)
Behind the Book

When Kris made a trip to India to study Ayurvedic massage, he never thought he would find love, adventure, and heartbreak. Traumatised by the loss of his friend and army abuses, Kris came to India practicing meditation and chastity, but both efforts were turned head over heels when he caught sight of Radha, a sex worker in Pune’s notorious red-light district.

Before he knew it, Kris was wrapped up in the world of pimps and crime lords, losing his hold on the life he had been pursuing and all the dreams of stability he had once built in his head. To be with the woman who had stolen his heart away, a life-altering decision awaited.

A true story, The Buddha of the Brothel is a poignant look into the world of godmen, spiritual seekers, and the men and women whose lives are ruled by the sex market and its overlords. Advaya’s account, written in refreshingly sparkling prose, is by turns anguished, humorous, hopeful, and bewildered, as he wades through a world he had never expected to encounter.

Sure to appeal to readers of Gregory Roberts’s Shantaram with its less than glittering setting, this is a literary memoir that opens readers’ eyes and minds and will not let go easily of their imaginations.

About the Author

Kris Advaya emerged from the void in Yugoslavia in the spring of 1976. After crawling his way through a stint in the military, and already multilingual, he spent five years studying French, Russian, and literature at the University of Ljubljana. Always artistic, he spent most of these years writing songs and abusing an electric guitar while playing with his alternative rock band. Soon afterwards, life took him to India and its enticing ways, and he’s been trying to cure himself of nomadism ever since.

Let me be honest here, when I read the title of the book and the blurb my first impression was that it was part noir and part fiction. But the quirky title, along with the strikingly beautiful cover had me at the first glimpse and I had to read this one. I am so glad I did, without allowing my first impressions impact my overall opinion about the book. This book is part memoir, part travelogue, part romance, part biography - all put together so nicely, that when you finish reading it you have the satisfaction of having finished a wonderful read.

For starters, the most impressive part of the book is that it no way shows India in poor light as a country, which otherwise is a common complaint I have while reading books on India by foreign authors. On the contrary , the author looks as inquisitive as me while describing all that he sees in the country. While it is interesting to note that the experiences mentioned there are scary to some extent, the author has used liberal doses of satire to make the moments light.

Coming to the writing, well it just flows. Wacky, gripping, poignant and evocative in the perfect doses this book makes for an immersing read. I could very well believe it if someone told me this was fiction. Like the title suggests, there is quite a bit of spirituality also in those pages and no it doesn't sound preachy or boring at all. There is not a single dull moment in the whole book. It is like being on a roll with one adventure after the another to witness. The narrative is so descriptive that it feels as if you are watching a movie. The scenes unfold before your eyes as the characters take over your senses with their story.

In those pages, a very different India comes alive. One that we live in no doubt, but seldom observe, like the author did. There were certain nuances brought out so beautifully that it filled me with pride. Though there are certain aspects of the plot that took me by surprise, there were many portions which left me beaming.A book that I really loved reading till the last word.

Strongly recommended to all , irrespective of your preferences in reading , this book is one that should not be missed at all!

Foodie Verdict
This book is like Russian Omelette- Full of surprises, you don't know what the next bite has to offer!

Source: YouTube


  1. I have to get this book!

    Thanks for the review, Nam

    1. This is a must read Ruchira, I am sure you will love it as much as I did or perhaps more. :)


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