There are elusive, obscure, and enigmatic authors of whom you know very scarce details, but then there are authors like Betty Kelen. Of Betty Kelen’s life nothing is known of certain.
Nothing, but a very grim, poignant, and dismal detail, – we know that Betty Kelen died on the fateful date of 31st of October, in 2006.
Other than that, the only things that we can extrapolate about Kelen’s character and persona come from her wonderful books. So, we can go on straight and take a look at what the best books by Betty Kelen actually are.
Gautama Buddha: In Life and Legend
A Bodhisattva – which is any person that has stepped on the path towards becoming closer to the Buddha, or to the Buddhahood – is seated in the Paradise of all Delights. He waits for the time when he can be born – which is also the time when one gives up all of the knowledge that the Buddha has imparted on one, and it is time for that person, stripped of all that he or she knows, to walk bravely into the wake of life and relearn, this time on his or hers own.
What Kelen has written is a superb, reverential, revelatory book whose heights are astounding. The merits and the true might of the book are outstanding; one only needs to read a few pages before they notice of what true power Kelen writes.
We learn of the so-called Four Signs – old age, sickness, death, and salvation – that inevitably lead towards the Great Renunciation. The Great Renunciation thus leads towards the Great Enlightenment under the Bo Tree, where one is imparted with a kind of vision of ignorance.
Rarely is any book as efficient in its telling of a story. To think that this is, by all means and purposes, a book of a religious figure, one has to bow down to the potent quill of Kelen. Without a doubt, this is one of Betty Kelen’s best books.
The Mistresses: Domestic Scandals of the Nineteenth-Century Monarchs
The book is essentially a collection or a panoply of stories concerning the scandalous lives of nineteenth century European monarchs and their respective mistresses. If we know anything of Kelen – as we said, very little is really known; however, we can infer certain things from her writing – it’s that she has a strong aptness and capability to make even the mundane a vibrant story, even the bleakness of history into a lively plot.
For instance, where one may see an absurd marsh of the aristocrats or the royalty, Kelen actually sees an opportunity to tell a real, though minute, yet intriguing story. She speaks of the equerries, the bodyguards, the ladies and the gentlemen, as they all follow the personages with a marked meticulousness. Where one sees an inept king playing tennis, Kelen sees an opportunity to portray a candid image of the king’s game and the waiting that the others endured without much fuss; instead, they would remember everything, everything in an attempt to memorize the images so that they could immortalize them in their diaries in due time. And finally, where one may see a king being awfully slow with his mistress, Kelen sees a chance to tell the story of a lifetime.
Anything that Kelen attempt to write seems to have had a rich flow of genius close by.
Muhammad: The Messenger of God
When we hear or read of Muhammad’s name, we immediately think of his contributions to the Islamic religion. Even though his contributions are ineffable, truly ineffable, where Kelen sees the true benefaction of the historical and religious figure was in his teachings, which are of a paramount significance.
The way that Kelen penetrates the sturdy, thick barrier that is common with writing of religious and historical figures is by taking a very sympathetic, even affectionate view of Muhammad’s life. She doesn’t just write of the man’s life and all the accounts concerning it, but she transports the reader into a story almost fifteen-hundred years old. The story is not given in footnotes, which would inevitably deter from the candid-type of storytelling that Kelen is going for.
In the way that Kelen wrote the book, it comes off as a fiction book, though there are not any changes in the story by her own volition, more so than a non-fiction book. Of course, she does not go all out on writing a story praising the messenger. As we are all fallible, his mistakes and faults are present too, as Kelen draws us a perfect portrait of the Islamic Messenger of God.
Confucius: In Life and Legend is another very important book from Betty Kelen’s genius mind, pertaining to the eminent Eastern philosopher Confucius.