"This is an extraordinary book. It is at once an intimate
memoir of a young man's fierce internal struggle; a document of
an era—the Sixties, with its idealism, mysticism, subversion,
and excess; and a meditation on the mysteries of language, memory,
and the self. Formally daring, ruthlessly honest, and written
in limpid, expressive prose, it explodes the clichés and
conventions of most non-fiction."
Hustvedt, author of What I Loved.
"So rich in incident, so vividly told, and often so buoyantly
funny, Agee's miraculous book soars beyond glib classification.
An international picaresque and a metaphysical detective yarn;
the memoirs of an ex-hippy and a chemical horror tale--none of
these conveys the scope and power of this genuine work of art."
Wensberg, co-author of Modern American Usage.
book chronicles a harrowing journey into a mind-made state of
torment and damnation—a hell from which many people never
return, let alone go on to describe their ordeal with such lucid,
poetic realism. In addition to telling a riveting and often very
funny tale, Joel Agee shows that the only sure release from such
a hell is by the nearly impossible task of tracing the productions
of the mind back to their ultimate source—pure consciousness,
free of all constructs and projections. In this, the book offers
a palpable and singularly important demonstration of essential
Buddhist teachings on the unlimited capacity of thought to create
heavens and hells, and on the possibility, even in hell, of recovering
our undamaged original self beyond the grasp of the mind.”
Fenner, author of Radiant Mind: Awakening Unconditioned Awareness
Agee’s In The House Of My Fear is to sixties memoirs what
his father James Agee’s masterpiece Let Us Now Praise Famous
Men was to Depression journalism: an unclassifiable work, hugely
ambitious, exasperatingly self-conscious, but also, at its best,
piercingly eloquent and intelligent. Agee focuses on his own journey
toward breakdown and recovery, beginning with his discovery of
LSD, as well as the fate of his brilliant schizophrenic brother,
Stefan, whose lucid torment lights up every page on which he appears.
This is no ordinary memoir, for only a genuine writer could have
Dickstein, author of Gates of Eden: American Culture in the Sixties.
is the proverbial ‘fear and trembling’ become an instrument
of exploration, reflection. A writer’s search for meaning
and purpose, for a secure sense of identity, compellingly, lucidly
told, will surely prompt in grateful readers the high compliment
of a similar intensity of moral introspection."
For more readers' comments, see:
Coles, author of The Mind’s Fate: A Psychiatrist Looks at