Friday, April 17, 2020

Seven darkly fascinating books about charismatic sects

Joanna Hershon is the author of five novels: St. Ivo, Swimming, The Outside of August, The German Bride and A Dual Inheritance.

[See: The Page 69 Test: St. Ivo.]

Her writing has appeared in Granta, The New York Times, One Story, Virginia Quarterly Review, and two literary anthologies, Brooklyn Was Mine and Freud’s Blind Spot.

At Electric Lit, Hershon tagged seven darkly fascinating books about cults, including:
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright

This 2013 National Book Award finalist for nonfiction is an exhaustive and wildly entertaining look at the famous celebrity-studded organization/cult/religion started in the 1950’s by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard and currently led by David Miscavige. The title itself is brilliant; “going clear” is how Scientology refers to the state of being freed from “engrams” which are “subconscious memories of past trauma.” Prepare to be amazed, especially if—like me—you know some practicing Scientologists or at least some Scientology apologists.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue