The Novice: A Story of True Love - Thích Nhất Hạnh

A very short read via Scribd at about 100 pages. The first 70 or so are the story, the last 30 about the history of the story and its influence in Vietnam, Buddhism, and the author who is a Buddhist teacher and his experiences. You could skip the ending if you're not particularly interested in Buddhism. There was this nice little gem though:

 

-- "We didn't wait for the government to get around to helping; we just initiated the projects ourselves at the grassroots level." / "We did not expect anything from the government, because if you wait for the government, you will wait a long time."

 

The main story itself begins in media res and then jumps back to the very beginning and proceeds from there. It is written succinctly and straight-forwardly as I remember fairytales in that Children's Bookhouse series being written. There is a big twist that makes itself known right after the prologue; although given the mythological/fairy tale nature of the story, someone who was paying more attention that I would probably have seen it coming. In all, a lovely little story.

"No one had helped [her] understand that body and mind are like deep oceans containing dark, hidden whirlpools and sea monsters that can capsize the boat of our life in seconds. When one is miserable, lonely, and hopeless because of an impossible love, wealth or beauty has no real value. The issue is how to actually create happiness."