My Family and Other Saints

Paperback | September 15, 2008

byKirin Narayan

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In 1969, young Kirin Narayan’s older brother, Rahoul, announced that he was quitting school and leaving home to seek enlightenment with a guru. From boyhood, his restless creativity had continually surprised his family, but his departure shook up everyone— especially Kirin, who adored her high-spirited, charismatic brother.

A touching, funny, and always affectionate memoir, My Family and Other Saints traces the reverberations of Rahoul's spiritual journey through the entire family. As their beachside Bombay home becomes a crossroads for Westerners seeking Eastern enlightenment, Kirin’s sari-wearing American mother wholeheartedly embraces ashrams and gurus, adopting her son’s spiritual quest as her own. Her Indian father, however, coins the term “urug”—guru spelled backward—to mock these seekers, while young Kirin, surrounded by radiant holy men, parents drifting apart, and a motley of young, often eccentric Westerners, is left to find her own answers. Deftly recreating the turbulent emotional world of her bicultural adolescence, but overlaying it with the hard-won understanding of adulthood, Narayan presents a large, rambunctious cast of quirky characters. Throughout, she brings to life not just a family but also a time when just about everyone, it seemed, was consumed by some sort of spiritual quest.

“A lovely book about the author's youth in Bombay, India. . . . The family home becomes a magnet for truth-seekers, and Narayan is there to affectionately document all of it.”—Body + Soul
 
“Gods, gurus and eccentric relatives compete for primacy in Kirin Narayan's enchanting memoir of her childhood in Bombay.”—William Grimes, New York Times

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From the Publisher

In 1969, young Kirin Narayan’s older brother, Rahoul, announced that he was quitting school and leaving home to seek enlightenment with a guru. From boyhood, his restless creativity had continually surprised his family, but his departure shook up everyone— especially Kirin, who adored her high-spirited, charismatic brother.A touching, ...

Kirin Narayan is the author of Storytellers, Saints, and Scoundrels, Mondays on the Dark Night of the Moon, and the novel Love, Stars, and All That. A former Guggenheim fellow, she is professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:246 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.6 inPublished:September 15, 2008Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226568210

ISBN - 13:9780226568218

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

The Hook

1. Gods’ Eyes
2. Crazy Saints
3. The Seven-Horned Mountain
4. Blind Blue Heavens, Pure Blue Light
5. Fused Doubles
6. Doorways
7. Gurus and Urugs
8. Mrs. Contractor’s Eldest Unmarried Daughter
9. Conjunctions
10. The Moon Pearl
11. At the Border
12. Twin Goddess

The Clasp


List of illustrations

Editorial Reviews

"Kirin Narayan brings her detailed powers of observation and nuanced description, together with her insightful and humorous appreciation of human beings as quirky individuals and products of their cultures, to present us with a few years in the history of her own family. These are extraordinary years and an extraordinary family, and this delightful and unique memoir documents much more than growing up acutely observant in a turbulent household. It also brings to life an era now almost mythical, when American and European hippies and seekers poured into India looking for many kinds of experiences. I loved this book."--Ann Grodzins Gold, Syracuse University