Through a miscommunication with the publisher, an earlier version of the book were sent for professional review before final editing and proofing. This was a little annoying and embarrassing to me since I've spend five months working to complete the novel and make final corrections so it would be at its best. In spite of this, the reviews were, I think, generally favourable though not always accurate in their representations of what happened in the novel.
Elysium’s Passage: The Summit N. G. Meyers iUniverse, 502 pages, (paperback) $26.99, 978-1-5320-2308-8 (Reviewed: October, 2017)
A fusion of philosophy, fantasy, and spiritual speculation, N.G. Meyers’ novel is comparable in theme and tone to Carlos Castaneda’s landmark books that revolve around the author’s metaphysical journey into the spirit realm with the help of his teacher Don Juan, a Yaqui shaman. In Elysium’s Passage, the first installment of Meyers’ Elysium saga, the narrator is James Phillips, a London philosophy professor. Disenchanted with his existence, Phillips decides to travel to Chile during a university holiday and climb to the summit of a remote mountain in the Andes. After a fall nearly kills him, his spirit embarks on a journey that ultimately leads him to his divine Self and existential enlightenment. Ever the skeptic, Phillips at first finds his “new reality” hard to believe. While his comatose body is back in a London hospital bed after a helicopter fatefully spotted it while flying overhead, his essence is at the Summit existing in a log cabin with two enigmatic beings, Eli and Mo, who are teaching Phillips about the true nature of the universe and his unique place in it. Mind-blowing statements and speculation (“…everyone is a non-physical thought form conceived in the Mind of God, preserved for all eternity because God’s thoughts never die…”) ultimately lead Phillips to accept his situation and, at novel’s end, he’s ready to reenter his body. This is a deep read—in other words, a novel not to be tackled quickly. Because of the plethora of abstract ideas and the almost complete lack of any significant action, pacing suffers mightily in some spots. Those seeking nonstop action and adventure will want to seek their literary kicks elsewhere. Readers who enjoy their literary escapism mixed with a heaping helping of philosophy and allegory, however, will find Meyers’ journey up the Mountain intriguing—and possibly even life-changing.
FORWARD CLARION REVIEW
Elysium's Passage: The Summit N.G. Meyers iUniverse (Jun 14, 2017) Softcover $26.99 (518pp) 978-1-5320-2308-8
This first book in a series raises questions that have echoed throughout the ages but whose answers remain elusive. Elysium’s Passage: The Summit by N. G. Meyers follows a philosophy lecturer’s physically challenging and mind-bending climb up a mountain in search of wisdom. As the main character, James, struggles to break free from his work rut and his confusion about forging authentic connections with women, he literally and figuratively tumbles off the edge into a chasm. His spirit separates from his mangled body, which is recuperating in a London hospital. He spends time in a spiritual “paradise,” searching for greater understanding, meaning, and happiness. In a situation that moves like a “crazy dream,” James is called to leave the “Lowlands” and seek higher grounds, where he can experience deeper awareness. Two mountain guides, Mo and Eli, mysteriously appear; they offer food and lodging while raising critical points about self-discovery and the importance of leaving mistakes in the past. Written in a confessional style, the book focuses on the James’s world weariness, left over from his days spent marking term papers and dealing with “incompetent” university administrators engaged in power struggles. James is an often unlikable character, if he is also aware of his own shortcomings. He knows that his objectification of women makes them bristle but remains befuddled about his lack of meaningful relationships. Still, it is taxing work to push through the narrative’s constant references to women’s physical appearances and James’s egotistical assessments of his personal and professional prowess. Educational footnotes and appendices about famous philosophers ground this summit-in-the-clouds tale, packed with interesting information about Carl Jung, Friedrich Nietzsche, Albert Einstein, Thomas Mann, and others. Terms such as “solipsistic” are also defined, providing a useful foundation for the book’s ongoing inquiries into, and comparisons of, physical versus spiritual lives. The epilogue reveals that this first of five books is a “long introduction” to an “ongoing story” without a clear ending. At the conclusion of this book, enlightenment remains elusive. In its effort to grapple with fundamental questions about the meaning of life, it raises questions that have echoed through the ages, including about where we come from, where we are going, who we are—and whether we are truly able to find contentment. In a fitting allusion to Sisyphus pushing his boulder, James struggles to the end to find answers. During his surreal free-fall into a new level of consciousness, he discovers that fear of failure drives his swagger. With the promise of a new woman on the horizon, upcoming books may determine whether James can find greater happiness when his spirit is reunited with his body. ANDREA HAMMER (October 12, 2017)
ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE N.G. Meyers iUniverse (518 pp.) $26.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1-5320-2308-8; June 14, 2017 BOOK REVIEW
A debut novel tells the story of a jaded philosopher’s journey in a symbolic otherworld. Dr. James Phillips, a London-based philosopher and professor, has been drifting through life mostly on snark and self-satisfaction. Then a strange dream shakes him from the stagnation of his routine: a voice encourages him to leave the Lowland, climb the Mountain, and reach the Summit. Unrelatedly (in James’ mind, at least), the professor elects to travel to a remote peak in the Chilean Andes in the hopes of making it to the top. In that wilderness, he meets two unexpected strangers, Mo and Eli. (“Short for Moses and Elijah,” notes James. “Those were the two with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.”) The pair provides James with food and lodging, displaying a deep interest in his quest and a preternatural knowledge of his dream. Though James is highly suspicious of them, they insist on sharing with the professor their challenging views on the nature of reality, rationality, and the wrong ways that he has been looking at the world. Most surprisingly, they reveal to James that he has transcended to a spiritual plane; while climbing the mountain’s upper section, he fell into a chasm and his soul separated from his comatose body. Now, to return to his body, he must reconnect with the philosophy he purports to teach. “And that, James, is why you are here,” reveal his ghostly mentors “to KNOW THYSELF!” Meyers writes in a dense, scholarly prose that mimics the bookish voice of his narrator, laden with verbose descriptions and literary allusions (“The dream came to me as a flicker of light, dimly shining through the cracks of my broken life. A line in Leonard Cohen’s lyrics from “Anthem” speaks of how the light enters through the crack. And Rumi, the Persian Sufi poet, made a similar observation centuries ago: the wound is the place where the Light enters”). This is a philosophical novel, which means that its cerebral dialogues and emotionally flat characters are pretty much par for the genre. Even so, the didactic book’s profound length (nearly 500 pages) and achingly slow pace will make this a difficult read for all but the biggest fans of Robert M. Pirsig and Hermann Hesse.
Yes, maybe so, but its not so difficult once you take the plunge