Burning Karma by David Rafn Kristjansson
Icelandic Boddi’s chief pleasures are chasing girls, drinking and taking drugs. His childhood was fragmented, divided between bitter parents and dominated by an incident of abuse when he was twelve. He can never hold down a relationship and soon gives up on everything else he tries. By the time he is twenty-one, Boddi is ‘going the same way’ as his drug-addicted older brother.
After dropping out of university, Boddi sells some paintings left to him by his grandmother and runs away from the mess of his life in Iceland. He goes to Kunming in China, ostensibly to teach English but only ending up resuming his routine of dedication to short-lived pleasures.
Boddi wakes up in a hospital bed one morning with no idea of what has happened. While still in hospital he has an intense psychological Experience which leaves him realizing it’s time to change his whole way of life and sets him off on a search for spiritual truth.
During his journey he encounters memorable characters such as Henry and Pau who point him in the direction of Laos. There he moves into the home of Max who becomes his spiritual teacher. From scrubbing stones under a blazing sun, to the brutal environment of a foreigners’ prison, Boddi begins to open his mind. He falls in love with Marissa and has to deny his physical desires for the first time ever.
Through a series of painful setbacks, Boddi finds his way onto a path to a more fulfilled future. But there is one final confrontation he has to face up to back in Iceland before he can ever be truly free.