Sunday, July 28, 2019

Book Review: 'Entertaining Naked People' by Edward Fahey

There are times with the biographical information about an author contributes to the aura of the words contained in a novel. Such is the case with Edward Fahey, for who could begin to imagine the trails his stories take without some of the background he has experienced. Edward is a seeker, not content with viewing life as it appears in the sun to the naked eye, but instead looking around the visible walls so seek the other aspects of ‘reality’. He has communed with mediums and hypnotists, miracle workers and ghosts - always reaching for experiences more profound than the mind can easily grasp. His life is a journey to spiritual centers, such as Bronze Age ceremonial mounds, stone circles, the Vatican, letters of theosophical mahatmas, ancient cemeteries, decrepit castles, and abandoned monasteries, seeking contact with lingering spirits. Edward has studied with artists, philosophers, clairvoyants, and healers, digging ever deeper into the ultimately unknowable.

And, fortunately for us he writes! This novel is the story a modern mystic’s fight for his soul. It speaks with unsettling honesty about love, loss, and triumph - about finding meaning even in thwarted and troublesome lives. His synopsis offers the outline of the journey: ‘As a small boy, frail in body and spirit, Ed taps into lives that had been lived and lost long ago. They dig through him like lingering nostalgia for days he can’t quite recall. Pathologically sensitive, he feels what friends and family hide even from themselves. Depressed, overwhelmed, he’s afraid to reach out into life. Ed leaves for college as the Vietnam War deadens souls and riots tear cities apart. He has to deal with hippie artists trying to out-weird each other, police attacking innocents, and friends committing suicide. When he is drafted he refuses induction, knowing that if he ever finds himself in a paddy facing an armed enemy soldier, he wouldn’t be the one pulling the trigger. Hitching a ride west with a strangely wise cowboy, he is pulled ever more deeply into the bizarre and the impossible. Meeting healers and miracle workers, he sorts through his own darkness and power, learning from experience that death is only temporary. Ed teaches massage school in southern California, his life spilling over with unbridled passion now of a more erogenous sort. But even bliss may lead deeper into darkness. Sometimes we must be destroyed to be reborn. Ed has to crawl from the wreckage of his own being; finding healing, joy, love, and fulfillment; one naked truth at a time.’

Beautiful concepts to ponder yet even more profoundly moving is the act of reading this brilliant book. Edward’s characters are so well-sculpted that they become visible, occupying not only the space around the spot where we are reading about them, but also entering our psyches to be indelible ensconced - memories of a very special experience with a gifted author and seer. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, January 16

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.