My Father's Guru
As a child growing up in the Hollywood Hills during the 1950s, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson thought it was perfectly normal that a guru named Paul Brunton lived with his family and dictated everything about their daily rituals, from their diet to their travel plans to his parents’ sex life. But in this extraordinary memoir, Masson reflects on just how bizarre everything about his childhood was. More
As a child growing up in the Hollywood Hills during the 1950s, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson thought it was perfectly normal that a guru named Paul Brunton lived with his family and dictated everything about their daily rituals, from their diet to their travel plans to his parents’ sex life. But in this extraordinary memoir, Masson reflects on just how bizarre everything about his childhood was–especially the relationship between his father and the elusive, eminent mystic he revered (and supported) for years.
Writing with candor and charm, Masson describes how his father became convinced that Paul Brunton–P.B. to his familiars–was a living God who would fill his life with enlightenment and wonder. As the Masson family’s personal guru, Brunton freely discussed his life on other planets, laid down strict rules on fasting and meditation, and warned them all of the imminence of World War III. For years, young Jeffrey was as ardent a disciple as his father–but with the onset of adolescence, he staged a dramatic revolt against this domestic deity and everything he stood for.
Filled with absurdist humor and intimate confessions, My Father’s Guru is the spellbinding coming-of-age story of one of our most brilliant writers.
“An uncompromising yet compassionate book . . . A coming-of-age memoir unlike any other.”
–The Toronto Star
“AN EXTRAORDINARY CAUTIONARY TALE …. about the enduring human impulse to imbue charismatic individuals with superhuman attributes.”
–San Francisco Chronicle
“Told with a mixture of humor and compassion. . . . Throughout this confessional book a grown man tells of an unusual, even weird childhood and the blind submission that consumed his family’s life.”
The New York Times Book Review
“My Father’s Guru is an interesting account of a warped upbringing made fascinating by the insight it provides into Masson’s adult life. He makes no excuses: in initially revering Freud and other authority figures, Masson realizes he was seeking new and better gurus that Brunton–and was fated to reject them pitilessly when they showed themselves, like Brunton, to be merely human.”
–Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Beneath the guru-bashing, the book is Masson’s poignant and loving indictment of his parents, worth reading for his psychological portrait of coming-of-age disillusionment.”
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