William Grimes reviews An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World by Pankaj Mishra, in the New York Times:
The Indian novelist and journalist Pankaj Mishra had two ideas when he came up with the subtitle “The Buddha in the World.” Always, in his rambling meditations on the history and meaning of Buddhism, he struggles to place the Buddha in historical context. He evokes the physical settings, socioeconomic changes and political tensions of Northern India six centuries before Jesus, the world in which Siddhartha Gautama first spread his radical message.
At the same time, his own spiritual quest pulls the story into the present, as he sorts out his conflicted feelings about Buddhism and its relevance to the world of terrorist bombings, multinational corporations and seething third-world discontent.
Mr. Mishra, the author of a highly praised novel, “The Romantics,” has written an odd, uneasy book.