Original Wisdom is a very special book that tells the story of an aboriginal tribe, the Sng'oi (pronounced sen-oy) that, at the time of its writing, existed in the Malaysian jungle. Since then, the Wolff has told me that the tribe no longer exists, that the Malaysian government almost bragged that the jungle had been cleared. I mentioned this to one friend who suggested that maybe, like the Aztecs, who are still in existence, the tribe merely faded into the jungle, or in with other people. That gives me some hope. Because the Sng'oi were so different, manifested such a different way of living, of relating to each other, to the forest, to nature, that it would be a great tragedy for humanity to have lost them.
The book, Original Wisdom, told of Wolff's visits with the Sng'oi and about how they lived. What first attracted me to learning about them was the idea that each morning, the tribe would tell each other the dreams they had, and then, they would base their day's activity on those dreams. And the Sng'oi talked to nature. They talked to the animals, the trees. After I read the book, my better half read it and loved it and then she shared it with our daughter, who also loved it.
So, when Rain of Ashes arrived, I was primed and ready for a magical experience in reading AND sharing. I was not to be disappointed.
Rain of Ashes is a post-apocalyptic book, about a time when most people on the planet have been wiped out by radiation, bioweaponized diseases, and a long night, caused by some cataclysmic event. It introduces you to a great group of memorable characters and takes you on an adventurous trip as they face the challenges of this crazy, after the apocalypse world. I recommend reading Original Wisdom first, because you'll see how beautifully he takes the philosophy and wisdom of the Sng'oi and uses their way of living as the way the survivors adopt as they start rebuilding the world, rebuilding the future of humanity. And really, the "new" way of living is really the way indigenous tribal people have lived for millennia, before the onset of civilization, which brought slavery, upper and lower classes, money, power, much longer work days, criime, insanity...
This is a hopeful novel that offers a vision for the future that does not necessarily require a nuclear holocaust for it to be brought to life.
This is a fast read. You won't want to put it down. I hope Robert Wolff, now in his 80's will write a sequel, if he hasn't already.
Robert Wolff is also a columnist on OpEdNews.com