Thursday, July 12, 2007

Top 10 books about psychological journeys

Novelist, literary journalist, and psychotherapeutic counsellor Sebastian Beaumont developed a top 10 list of books about psychological journeys for the Guardian.

The backdrop:
It was whilst compiling this list of my top ten psychological journeys that I realised that my own novel, Thirteen, relates to a lineage of stories that explore both literal journeys and metaphorical voyages into the terrifying darkness of the human psyche. Why we have to "travel" in order to find ourselves is one of the more mysterious and fascinating aspects of psychological maturation. I have been drawn, from my earliest days, to such texts, especially those that blur the boundaries of consensus 'reality' and psychological reality.
Number 10 on Beaumont's list:
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig

Not fiction, but Pirsig is a rollicking story teller and this reads like the best of novels. It is an engrossing tale of a journey across America by motorcycle, and into psychological and philosophical meltdown. The climax, in which Pirsig faces his own madness and the collapse of his collusion with constructed reality, is both breathless and magnificent. We can never step outside ideology, but Pirsig makes it clear that if we really face it, we can radically reduce its tyranny. My sense of the world was never the same again after reading this book.
Read the entire list.

--Marshal Zeringue