Mix together a young European running away from the excesses of his civilisation, a crafty old Indian guru Yogananda, secret tantric monasteries in the remote mountains of Ladakh and Zanskar, an enigmatic American truth-seeker Henry Napoleon Alexander, an innocent young Tibetan girl Dolma, mysterious rituals in underground caves plus a carefully measured dose of distilled New Age ideas, plus a dynamic narrative, and you get Going away with the wild tiger, a phenomenally successful novel which has been called "one of the best stories on the theme of the outsider".
Although it deals with the themes and problems of what is known as "new spirituality" and contains distant echoes of Hesse, Castaneda and Paulo Coelho, the book is actually a new form of bildungsroman: an intensely readable story of a young man's attempt to teach himself that he is "all right" as he is, and that the world, the only world in which he will ever live, is a friendly place.
In Slovenia, where it was first published in 1986, Going away with the wild tiger (the original title The Sorcerer's Apprentice) by Evald Flisar (1945, Gerlinci) is known as "the book that refuses to die". The fourth hardback edition has just been sold out and the publishers are preparing the fifth. The total number of hardback copies sold has already exceeded 25 000 - in a country with a population of two million people. In terms of the English market this would mean 700 000 copies, and in terms of the American market well over three million copies. Hesse, Castaneda and Coelho together have not reached such sales in Slovenia, although they have been available for many years.