WITH A NEW INTRODUCTION BY SIMON CALLOW
In 1939, as Europe approaches war, Isherwood, an instinctive pacifist, travels west to California, seeking a new set of beliefs to replace the failed Leftism of the thirties. There he meets Swami Prabhavananda, a Hindu monk, who will become his spiritual guide for the next thirty-seven years. Late-night drinking sessions, free love, and the glamour of writing for the Hollywood studios alternate with meditation, abstinence and the study of religious texts in a compelling tug of war between worldliness and holiness.
Isherwood has reinvented the spirit of devotion for the modern reader. If I had to propose a candidate for canonization, Isherwood - wry, self-conscious, scrupulously honest - would get my vote
A masterpiece of spiritual memoir
What emerges is a record of a religious adventure that would have delighted Kierkegaard... Isherwood rejects conventional piety - all the humdrum apparatus of worship - in favor of a direct, even jaunty appreciation of how preposterous, certainly precarious, spirituality can be today.
The sacred and the profane collide like never before
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Katherine Bucknell edited The Animals, a collection of Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy's love letters. She charts the journey to bringing them to life in a podcast starring Simon Callow and Alan Cumming