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The Bone Man of Benares: A Lunatic Trip Through Love and the World
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The Bone Man of Benares: A Lunatic Trip Through Love and the World

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  75 ratings  ·  9 reviews
In 1971, fed up with the politics and culture of America, Terry Tarnoff packed a bag, a guitar and sixteen harmonicas and headed out on an eight year journey that would take him into the jungles of Africa, the mountains of India and beyond. Smoking a chillum around a funeral pyre with lepers, battling fist size cockroaches in Mombasa Africa or driving through the poppy fie ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published June 14th 2004 by St. Martin's Press (first published June 10th 2004)
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I love this book soooo much! It has all of my favorite themes. It takes place in the tumultuous seventies, chronicles one man's search for the love of his life, the meaning of his life and all the other unanswerable questions. It involves plenty of gratuitous drug use, hot sex and strange rituals in smoky far off lands. You can almost smell the odors and aroma of the countries he travels to. I've read it multiple times, have memorized dialogue, and I highly recommend this book to anyone that lov ...more
L. Myers
The Bone Man of Benares is my favorite book by Terry Tarnoff. The quixotic exotic adventures are told in Terry’s all too human voice; you will want to read the book over and over again, and you will wonder if this really happened. It did. Reading one of Terry Tarnoff’s novels is remarkably akin to listening to him play harmonica. It is like listening to some great blues song; you begin to smile along as Terry takes you on the ride of a lifetime, and you just want to keep going. This word maestro ...more
Michael Danzig
You'll never find another book like this because this world is gone forever. Tarnoff's adventures in this book occur at a time when hippies, poets, musicians -- wanderers with rucksacks populated special places in the world. Terry Tarnoff is a harmonica player from the Midwest who falls in love with the beautiful Annika in Stockholm, travels with her to Amsterdam and Paris, then loses her in Greece. The rest of the book is an existential, philosophical, epical voyage through Africa and Asia, a c ...more
Seriously one of the best books ever, and by far the best travel adventure book Ive read, nothing comes close, I only wish more people knew about it! Hard to come by copies in Australia, but have passed this book onto one other adoring fan who I hope spread it further.
If you're ok with suffering from severe, life-altering wanderlust, then please, do delve into Terry Tarnoff's world. It's your world, too, like you've never seen it. An absolutely fantastic read. The hard part is closing it ... and thinking about your tomorrow, which, if you're like me, revolves around e-mail and work and the humdrum of minutia. So hold on to Tarnoff as long as you can ... his book is the kind of drug that doesn't come in a bottle.
A few interesting tidbits, but mostly this book is all about a young American who traveled around for a few years and wants to talk about how adventurous and generous and good-looking and talented he is. The self-aggrandizing stories get pretty tiring.
If you want a GOOD travel book, skip this and read Michael Crichton's Travels.
This is a fabulous and fun read - I read every year or so. My copy is tattered because I've lent it out so many times. DO yourself a favor and read it if you haven't!
Similarish to Shantaram. I preferred Shantaram.
Maureen Mooney
Crazy. Loved it!
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Terry Tarnoff began his career as a writer at the tender age of twelve, when he was paid a penny a word to write phony letters to the editor of a small Milwaukee newspaper (he claims to have never matched that amount since, but that may be apocryphal). He graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in psychology, then embarked on an eight-year journey that took him from Europe to Afri ...more
More about Terry Tarnoff...
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“It felt warm sitting around the dhuni. I felt connected to the sadhus, to the temple, and even to Shiva. Is this it? Am I on the precipice of something? Is this what I've been looking for? It feels so close, I can nearly reach out and grab it, the answer to all my questions could be right in this circle, I could follow this path, I could grow my hair six feet long, I could stand in one spot for six years with my arm in the air, I could cover myself in ash, I could smoke chillums all day and chant all night, yes, this is what it's all been leading to, already, I feel my mind emptying out, it's slowing down just like in Greece, but this time the filmstrip is coming into focus, this time I can almost make it out, this time things are making sense, yes, of course, Paul is right, I must act like a sadhu, I must do what's right, and now the film stops for one brief second and I take a look, and there it is, my journey, yes, it's anything but a straight line, it's more like a spiral that twists all over the place, just like the lines in my palm, it's a spiral that at any moment could point up or down, in or out, and now, sitting at the feet of the holy men, looking into the warm pools of the sadhu's eyes - I suddenly realize what this is all about. Each person's journey is different, and this spiral of mine isn't finished spinning. At least, not here - not now, not in this magical arcade. It's as I always suspected. I don't want a guru. I don't want an ashram. I need to find my own way.” 3 likes
“Hare Rama... I felt a jolt of energy coursing up my spine. I'm in Kathmandu, I kept telling myself - as the sounds began to permeate every pore of my body. It's a full moon - I'm on a glorious valley at the top of the world, I'm actually here - surrounded by the most extraordinary group of people, yes, I'm actually here, and the chanting is building and building until it becomes one great shout of ecstasy, and suddenly I'm chanting too - I've moved into the circle, I'm pounding on a drum, and I'm looking into the eyes of people around me - and I'm feeling part of something big and glorious and magnificently insane” 3 likes
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