With a creative, challenging job, boyfriend and crew of good friends, Lorna Crawford should be feeling pretty fulfilled. Things aren’t always perfect, sure, but they’re still pretty good. Life is good. So why is she plagued by doubt and uncertainty?
Spirituality has always been elusive to Lorna. When she finds herself ridden by anxiety and craving comfort, though, a friend introduces her to yoga. The pair head to a silent retreat where Lorna learns to make peace with her inner dialogue and embrace silence, but any sense of relaxation later dissolves in the face of her hard-nosed mother, manipulative coworkers and a distant boyfriend who doesn’t seem to be making an effort. Armed with spiritual guidebooks and a bevy of new experiences, Lorna’s attempts at enlightenment are soon put to the test. Can she emerged unscathed?
Meryl Davids Landaus’s Downward Dog, Upward Fog came to me at just the right moment. Having pretzeled my way into my first yoga class in August, I became fascinated by the art of yoga and the emotional benefits it could have on a nervous-nelly like myself. When I read about a 33-year-old seeking peace and contentment in a fast-paced life, I was all in.
What I loved best about Landau’s novel was her deft way of discussing religion without ever getting heavy-handed. No one wants to feel like they’re being beaten over the head with others’ beliefs, and I appreciated that Lorna experiences all sorts of mystical practices without ever becoming preachy. Her exposure to the teachings of leaders like Eckhart Tolle adds depth to the narrative, and Lorna was a character I could appreciate and root for. She was sincere and open-minded in her approach to understand things that have long eluded her.
The story felt a bit long in the middle and I was never fond of Brad, Lorna’s “too busy for you” boyfriend, but the overall message was positive: appreciate the little things. Life is a journey, as we all know — it’s about living in the moment, taking a step outside our whirlwind minds and realizing the destination is not our final answer. Part novel and part self-help guide (but not in a cheesy way), Downward Dog, Upward Fog would be an uplifting read for fans of women’s fiction looking for a little space and clarity in their own lives.
4 out of 5!