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First things first: this book is beautifully written. Louis Brawley, who has always wanted to be an artist,has found his medium: ink and paper. Mr. Brawley sees and feels as a poet sees and feels and he takes us with him. There are descriptions here of people and events, spiritual insights and mental movements that are so good we would expect to find them only in the best written novels by our very finest writers. Brawley has found his subject, too: a larger than life U.G. Krishnamurti,who can only be described as stark, raving sane.
Another apt title might have been No Fear and Much Loathing All Around the World. Brawley spent five years with UG and a weird, wonderful, rather madcap group touring from India to California to Switzerland and Italy, always on the move; flying, driving, and always, always talking. Well, there's a lot of hollering here, too, but there's damn little silence. UG has a lot to say, he's not shy about saying it, and all of "those bastards" better know it. I got to where I would laugh every time I saw "those bastards" appear.
If you are a fan of the other, more famous, far more pastoral Jiddu Krishnamurti,approach this book with caution. I'd advise you to come absolutely as open minded as you can stretch. UG, and Brawley too, assail JK, as they refer to him, with scorn and venom. I'm never quite clear why. Brawley sounds victimized and UG sounds enraged, but then, curiously, as we come to the later pages, there are hints of gratitude and devotion as well, from both author and subject. If that sounds like some kind of complex paradoxical combination, you are dead on it. If there ever was a spiritual puzzle, UG is it. He carried his own gravitational field, and nothing works quite the same once it has entered that field.Read more ›
Goner is like a train wreck: it's too awful to look at but too fascinating to turn away. It's painful to watch U.G. verbally (and sometimes physically) abusing those around him, but it's impossible to turn away before understanding why people came from all over the world to subject themselves to his endless tirades and bizarre conduct.
It's a wild ride, but if you hang on until the end, you might just catch a glimpse of the man behind the facade, the great enigma that was U.G. Krishnamurti.
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This book had such a powerful effect on me that at the end I had to take it out for a coffee, savor it and the people in it as if they were my dearest friends, stretching out the cappuccino and crying into too-small, too-stiff napkins, until finally UG was gone. If that makes it sound like some feel-good love fest, forget it; it was almost unbearably uncomfortable at times... When I read it, I was already extremely disillusioned by most things spiritual, and my encounter UG would flush out the rest. But he is no piece of cake and it can take a while to orient yourself. Brawley is unflinching, meticulously bringing to life the oddly coherent contradictions of a force of nature. Not easy, given the truth of UG's message, that thought is dead, yet Brawley manages to use words which, though they surely belong to the realm of thought, feel alive... So that UG reaches from his nonexistent grave and smacks you in the head. It has been a wild ride, still is, and Goner is both consistent with the other books about UG I've read, and marvelously unique. Which may be the UG effect: after the tsunami, in the wrecked landscape of your life, a voice that may not be able to say anything, but is somehow more distinctly yours. Horrifying and wonderful, both...
Louis Brawley is a great writer and story teller. This book was hard to put down. Fascinating from front to back I just couldn't get enough of this book. Thanks Louis Brawley for the hard work that went into giving us a glimpse of what it was like to travel with such extraordinary man.
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At a certain point in his life the man writing this narrative encounters a phenomenon a force of nature if you will. The man realizing this human aberration this grand canyon of a person that he has met may have limited time left in existence carves out time from his life to follow and witness this phenomenon first hand. The phenomenon is U G Krishnamurti the man is Louis Brawley author of this account of tornado chasing. In the narrative we follow Brawley pursuing storm UG as he knocks down the conceptual houses of those who come to see him. I have for many years now rated Lawrence Shainberg's "Ambivalent Zen" as the most honest of this genre (whatever genre that is I don't care to name it). Now that book has company on its lonely shelf as Goner joins it there. This book is candid, unflinchingly honest when it comes to UG and the author's relationship with this anti-guru. UG tells us that thought is your enemy and that there is no way out no exit at least not one thought is seeking. He describes the natural state as the state in which he operates. UG listened to Jiddu Krishnamurti for years and as J Krishnamurti walked away from the trappings of the Theosophical society U G Krishnamurti walks away from the trappings of J Krishnamurti. UG is more honest and clear in talking about how he operates than Jiddu cutting through the BS of "spirituality" and the poetic language of "choiceless awareness" slicing down to the marrow of what reality is and how he the man U G Krishnamurti operates. Brawley travels to Switzerland India Italy Germany and the United States keeping UG before him whether singing for his metaphysical supper or getting slapped and pummeled by UG or even taking care of him for weeks when he was incapacitated.Read more ›