Ambika Devi is an artist, yogini, astrologer, tarot reader and musician. Recently she has published her first novel, “Lilith” with Inkwell Productions.
“Lilith” is an ambitious first novel. Ambika Devi’s favorite novel is Tom Robbins’ “Jitterbug Perfume.” The style of “Lilith” is in many ways an homage to Robbins, and to that literary style.
That we could discuss any “literary style” in conjunction with a first novel is impressive. In the interest of full disclosure I will say that this particular literary style is not always one of my favorites. It is impossible for me to know if Ambika Devi really did it well or not. That I could recognize the style for what it is probably speaks well for her.
“Lilith” interested me for two reasons. First, it is a work of spiritual fiction. I love novels that gently illustrate spiritual concepts. I guess spirituality is taught in myths and parables for a reason.
Second, Lilith references tarot. I love to see tarot in movies, books and cartoons, especially when it is accurately represented. One the cover of “Lilith” is Major Arcana 6, the Lovers. One might say that “Lilith” is a 345 page exploration of this card in all its facets. For me, that’s not a bad thing.
There are many characters in “Lilith,” but ultimately only two. The story takes place in one afternoon, but also in a lifetime.
The story explores everything you would expect the Lovers card to explore; relationships, duality, the inner world versus the outer world, the spirit world versus the material world, and more.
At times the spiritual lessons in the story felt a little heavy-handed, and the writing just a wee bit clumsy. To me that feels like first-novel jitters. Ambika is working on her next offering; I imagine it will be even smoother than the first.
Much of the story takes place on the streets of South Philadelphia. The striking descriptions of the food and culture had me longing to visit my own Northeastern collegiate city, New Haven. Next to the masterful weaving of the Lovers archetype throughout the story, the portrayal of an artist’s life in South Philly was my favorite aspect of this book.
I am not sure that “Lilith” will appeal to every reader. It requires some concentration and thought. It’s not a page-turner, and it’s not a trite romance. “Lilith” is a legitimate literary offering covering topics that will be of interest to tarotists, spiritual seekers, yogis and the like, as well as those who, like me, remember fondly their own young adult years enjoying gourmet pizza and falafel in a funky northeastern city.
Watch me interview Ambika Devi.
Watch the trailer for “Lilith.”