A boy, a book, a candle.
June 22, 2012 4:10 PM   Subscribe

Really vague teenage book memory involving a gold room, a candle, and meditation power? Did I hallucinate this book?

I have a vivid memory of a scene from a book I read in my teens (88-93. Tho I believe it was closer to 88 than 93) in which a man (boy?) finds a book that teaches him to focus on a candle while meditating and he learns he can make the candle go out.

I believe this could have taken place in a gold room but yet I also have a vague recollection that he also stopped along side a road he was travelling (I picture him in a horse drawn coach and wearing a waistcoat though I may be mixing that up with Dracula) and did this (or maybe that was where the room was?).

I think it was fiction though I can't swear to it. Is this familiar to anyone?
posted by kanata to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is it The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar by Roald Dahl?
posted by scarylarry at 4:14 PM on June 22, 2012 [6 favorites]

That hits close. I remember the part about seeing without your eyes and in thinking back on it I am always confused if it was fiction or non and that story was written as if it was non-fiction. No mention of a gold room and a candle but it is darn close.
posted by kanata at 4:32 PM on June 22, 2012

There's definitely a candle in that story, although I don't know about the gold room. The protagonist gains the ability to see without his eyes by meditating with a candle (I think? It's been a decade or so).
posted by muddgirl at 4:35 PM on June 22, 2012

Ah then that's it! I definitely remember it first hitting him when he is looking at a candle and that he had to do it over and over again to get it right. It completely makes sense it was Dahl then too because when I was a preteen I went through an addiction to him.

Thank you both! That has been bugging me for years! Every time I find myself staring at a candle I think of it. Now off to the library to read it!
posted by kanata at 4:40 PM on June 22, 2012

Also 4 minutes to solve a 20 year mystery is amazing!
posted by kanata at 4:41 PM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, for a long time I thought that people really could learn to 'see' while blinded, because I read that story and then forgot everything but the central premise.
posted by muddgirl at 4:42 PM on June 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yep, I came in to say the same answer and to say I also spent a fair bit of time staring at a candle then trying to predict cards as a result. Didn't work.
posted by bquarters at 5:08 PM on June 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Also sounds like "The Dark is Rising". By Susan Cooper.
posted by aecorwin at 6:32 PM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

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