Aleph (fiction) was written in 3 weeks and chronicles the author's travels from Moscow to Vladivostok on the Siberian Railroad. Much more of a spiritual journey than a travelogue, the book is packed with pithy advice (in italics) such as,
"Don't think about what you'll tell people afterwards. The time is here and now. Make the most of it."Certainly 'do what I say, not what I do' advice coming from an autobiographical writer.
The Aleph is a mystical/spiritual, but also physical, location where are time and space exist simultaneously. Where the lucky person can experience their past lives and achieve forgiveness and ultimately peace.
"The best way to prepare for a challenge is to cultivate the ability to call on an infinite variety of responses."Thus, accompanied by a girl who was tortured and killed during the Spanish Inquisition when the author was a Dominican who might have spoken up for her but did not, the protagonist and his Aikido practicing companion, Yao, conduct many metaphysical discussion while visiting spiritual locations in Siberia, highlighted with the visit to a shaman in Lake Baikal.
"The moments that precede sleep are very similar to death."