Disclaimer: I received an advanced reader copy of Anand Dilvar's The Slave so that I could review it on his blog.
The pull quote on the back of the book The Slave says, "I cam to the understanding that life is the only opportunity we have to be ourselves." Not only does this nicely summarize the main character's journey in The Slave, but it makes m think that Jack has already figured out life. I mean, you guys. He went to school with his new Pioneer Woman cookbook in his backpack so he could read it during silent reading time. He used his Christmas money to buy a Pioneer Woman cookbook. He wants to remain in Boy Scouts even though we have tried to talk him out of it. He knows who he is and what he wants, and he is living his life according to those principles. No spiritual journey necessary.
This is not the case for Dilvar's main character, an unnamed man because, the author reasons, the character is so universal. Following a drunk driving incident after a night of partying, the main character is in a coma, and his girlfriend and estranged family don't know where he is. Motionless in a hospital ed, he copes with he physical pain of his accident and the spiritual pain of a life not-so-well-lived.
The Slave is not the kind of book I normally read, but it did remind me of the short story "The Nightingale" about a woman in a coma begging her family to pull the plug. but the begging only happens in her head because she can't move. Such an amazing story. I remember not making it into a final round of prose reading at college speech nationals because my teammate performed that story in the semifinal and it made me sob and sob--- right before I was supposed to perform. She got third in the final round, by the way.
If you are looking for a story of redemption and self-actualization, this is the book for you. Blurbs claim that this book is a page-turner, and I did read it quickly, although I was pretty sure our character would wake up to the beauty of his life. It's a good parable for a new year.