"Writing and travel are the best things, the only things, that always work, that always make me feel connected, whole. With both, there is nothing to understand, nothing to explain; no family, no phones, no bills, no worries, no past and no future, just now and just movement," writes George Crane, author of Bones of the Master, his fascinating account of his journey to Mongolia to find the bones of his spiritual mentor Tsung Tsai's teacher and the cremate them. However, a fierce sandstorm stopped them from completing the mission. Now, years later, Crane is in a bit of a funk. He's tired of the rigors of Zen Buddhism: "Become, I've spent the last twenty-five years of my life trying to become, and it hasn't been easy, because the man I am is always getting in the way."
In order to perk up his spirits, Crane decides to join a buddy who is sailing a fifty-eight foot cement-hulled Samson ketch from Key Largo to Granada. The trouble is, this journey is scheduled during the hurricane season. But that doesn't bother Crane, who loves taking risks and being in the company of wild men: "Like Henry Miller, I have always fallen in with thieves and rogues and murderers. And I have been comfortable with them. They are my brothers, for like them like you, my friends I'm guilty of every crime. And it is because of our communal crimes that all of us are so closely united. We have met the murderers and they are us."
Crane's zigzag quest for adventure and meaning continues when he heads off to Paris to tally up all the losses in his life, including the end of another marriage. He feels like he's "dropped down the rabbit hole." Then it's off to Mongolia to finish the task he could not complete with Tsung Tsai. But his quest is diverted down paths that Crane does not expect. The author seems right at home amongst nomads. His crazy wisdom proves to be an ally in this far-off place. At one point in this memoir, Crane quotes W.B. yeats: "I don't want accuracy. I only want a picturesque sentence." There are plenty of those in this book, and that ought to please the author very much.