Vagabond by Anthony Karakai

Vagabond by Anthony Karakai
Publisher: Trident Media Group
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Length: Full Length (220 Pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

A fable about following your heart, ‘Vagabond’ explores the concept of destiny and what it means to be an individual in a world increasingly cliché. Leonardo spins a globe to begin his backpacking adventure, and before too long he engages in a world of travellers, all searching to find and define their own happiness.

The course of human history is changed forever as three seemingly unrelated lives impact on one another, with the universe dictating the transcendence of energy between the three as an ultimate revelation unfolds.

Three lives impact each other in miraculous ways in this fable about following your heart. Rafael, a tobacco farmer from Ecuador, dreams of foreign lands as he plants his tobacco. Even as a young boy he had been labeled as an old soul who would amount to great things. “Known in his village as a wise, kind soul, the local villagers and commuters would stop by to seek his advice on a broad range of matters.” After many years Rafael discovers that he has lost his way. He realizes that “there comes a point in our lives where we need to reassess what it is we are living for.” With that he heads into the Amazon forest. He is bitten by an anaconda who tells him that “in death, your potential will be realized.” Four days later, Rafael dies, and the reader is told that “energy that is deemed too important by the cosmos will be transcended even in death; its force will remain impenetrably fostered and in due time, that same force will be harvested elsewhere, manifesting its potential and fulfilling its ultimate destiny.”

Anthony Karakai has written a lovely fable. The story wanders next to Leonardo, a twenty-year old looking for life’s meaning, for a way to craft his life. His journey takes him first to Costa Rica where he bonds with a group of ex-pats. From there he wanders into South America, meeting Carmen, and coming to Rafael’s tobacco farm. When Rafael’s widow Carlotta meets Leonardo, he seems familiar to her. “For the first time in a while, Carlotta looked out her kitchen window and smiled; the spirit of Rafael was present.”

The story meanders along, and it took me awhile to see the connection between the beginning with Rafael and then the switch to Leonardo. But once I found that connection, the story became magical. I really enjoyed meeting Rafael, Leonardo, and Carmen and it was wonderful to discovery the bonds between them. I put the age recommendation at 16+ just because of the depth of the philosophy and the complexity of the vocabulary. I was surprised that it was listed as young adult because I think that the fable becomes richer when the reader has some life experiences to bring to the reading.

This is a great read for anyone who has wondered about the meaning and purpose of life, either individually or more globally. The topics are handled with compassion and wisdom. I found it exciting to watch “the transcendence of energy through the universe.”

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