In Praise of the New 

Louise Pfanner shares her latest discoveries.

April 2019

Gleebooks Bookshop - Friday, March 29, 2019
My Life in Orange. That’s orange the colour, not Orange the town in NSW. The colour worn by the followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh—the Indian guru who fell from grace, and ended up in prison, and who was ultimately denied entry into every country his jet landed in.

There’s a lot of falling from great heights in this poignant memoir by Tim Guest, whose mother joined the Rajneeshis, and took her son with her. The children in the communes were left largely to their own devices, and Tim spent a lot of time leaping through trap doors, jumping from sheds, and falling into water. He writes with conviction, and an amazing recall, capturing the atmosphere generated by the guru—in his presence, but mainly in his absence. The communes he describes, in India, Oregon and Germany and his home base in England, were places where the adults sought Nirvana and the children were on the whole neglected. It’s hard to see the appeal of living like this, but, it was a different time, and it did actually happen. His describes the utter disregard for the childrens’ wellbeing in the communes without rancour—always keeping his mother at the centre of his tale. His longing for her (to a lesser extent his father) and sense of desolating loneliness pervades the whole book. He recounts the excesses of Baghwan’s lifestyle, and his extraordinary decline quite objectively—there is no need to exaggerate the story, the facts are unbelievable enough. This book was first published in 2004, and has just been republished; tragically, the author died in 2009, from a drug overdose, a sad fact that overshadows the whole book. Louise

 
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