The Recorder – Book Review: “Pilgrim Maya”



Posted: 2022-10-21 16:13:33

“Pilgrim Maya” by Bela Breslau and Stephen Billias (Odeon Press, 372 pages, $16)

At the beginning of “Pilgrim Maya”, her heroine is plunged into sadness. Maya Marinovich lost her husband and baby daughter in a car accident. She survived the accident without physical injuries but with deep spiritual wounds.

After months of stalling in her hometown of Boston and going through therapy sessions with no benefit, Maya decides to try life elsewhere. She and her backpack land in San Francisco.

There, she goes through three new phases of life. In the first, Maya befriends the Lost Tribe, a Jewish-Japanese religious group with a charismatic young leader.

She becomes romantically involved with the Chief. Eventually, she wisely decides that while she’s happy knowing she can still feel passion, her life path doesn’t have to be hers.

She then landed a job as a property manager for the Bon Vivants. These eclectic artists and musicians have taken up residence in a former warehouse.

The headquarters of Les Bon Vivants is in a way a living room and a kind of stage for performance art. Maya makes new friends there and begins to explore her own potential for artistic and literary creation.

When Maya receives the insurance settlement for the lives of her lost loved ones, the insurance company also sends her details she had not previously known about the deaths of her husband and child. This knowledge sends him into a new paroxysm of grief.

Fortunately, with the help of her friends, her mother, and a Buddhist couple who care for the needy, she enters the third part of her journey of self-discovery. She has been healing from the beginning, but she eventually understands and accepts this healing as she meditates, exercises, and reaches out to help others.

I have a bit of a problem with “Pilgrim Maya,” and that’s the role luck plays in Maya’s journey. She always lands on her feet and always finds potential love interests.

I feel like Maya would tell me that if I opened up to life and spirituality like she is finally doing, I might get that kind of luck too. Maybe she would be right. In any case, my quibble did not prevent me from being completely absorbed by the story of Maya.

“Pilgrim Maya” creators Bela Breslau and Stephen Billias describe their partnership as a “literary marriage.”

The Deerfield couple certainly know how to craft a story and make readers care about their protagonist. The Maya pilgrimage is moving and fascinating. The story of his physical and spiritual journey will stay with me for some time.

Bela Breslau and Stephen Billias will read ‘Pilgrim Maya’ at their book launch party on Saturday October 29 from 2-4pm at the Windhorse Hill Retreat Center on River Road in Deerfield. John Zax and friends will provide music for the event and books will be available for sale.

For more information on “Pilgrim Maya”, visit

Tinky Weisblat is an award-winning songwriter and singer. His new book is “Pot Luck: Random Acts of Cooking”. Visit his website,

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