From Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews
From Mamta Madhavan: “Entertaining Naked People by Edward Fahey is an uplifting book that will charm readers with the spiritual tones underlying the story of a little boy, Ed, who is depressed and scared to reach out to the world. His educational trips with his parents expose him to the harsh realities of life and a realization that death is only temporary; we have the choice to turn pain into something negative or use it to tap into the resources to connect with the higher power. As readers go on a journey in Ed’s life, they connect with their core which has always existed within. I have read another book by this author and his views and perspectives on life, living and the universe fascinate me and make me contemplate the essence of human beings in the larger framework of life, which is not usually visible immediately. Ed’s story has a tinge of sadness, passion, surrealism and mysticism which make it a compelling read. The narration is detailed and descriptive and helps readers seek their personal connection with the universe. The foul and clean places all of us go through will motivate readers to bring about noticeable changes in their lives. The book is Ed’s fight to get his soul back. It’s his story of healing, finding bliss amid the challenges, and working his way through the darkness, finally leading him to the light. The author captures the magic that exists in the real world with the story and the experiences. The quotes at the beginning of the chapters complement the author’s words effectively. The book has beautifully captured the spiritual aspects of life and living, and the author aces it up with his fluid writing style.”
About Entertaining Naked People
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 people hide even from themselves. Depressed, suicidal, overwhelmed by hopelessness, 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.
He camps in deserts, sets out to sea, walks into the fury of a hurricane, desperate to touch God up close and wielding full power.
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.
“It will make you laugh, cry and THINK”
I loved this story, felt uplifted by it and found that it explained so much about really living in our lives and the meaning of Love. What we so often see as damaging times are in fact periods of growth. The central character, Ed, starts out as a `pathologically sensitive’ child. `Entertaining Naked People’ then follows his life of challenges which forge his development through the first 5 decades or so of his life. Gradually Ed realises his sensitivity is in fact intuition, empathy and a gentle strength most of us can only touch upon. We follow his spiritual development as this guides his commitment to how he lives his life. Despite a turbulent love life he always remains open hearted and he embraces each new relationship as passionately as if it were his first. The overall message is that Love is never limited and once there is that bond of Love between two people circumstances may change but that bond never dies. A book I shall read again and again
“You said your family’s religious?” I asked. Ours was one of maybe ten rooms in this long, flat motel; each, no doubt, with the same faded interiors. Each a tossed salad of Salvation Army furniture, a bland, mismatched scrapbook of stains, but they did share a porch looking out on the sunset. The two of us sat there on gouged and splintered rockers, their cane backs unraveling. As was I. There were three or four old wrecks parked along the strip, a couple of them thrashing and moaning; occasional screams of, “Yes! Yes! Yes, Honey, Yes!” But we had the porch to ourselves.
“Born again fundamentalist,” he told me. “Daddy was a minister. Seems in my family the earth’s only a few thousand years old. They keep losing track of the exact number. Can’t find the reference in the Bible nowheres, but’d fight to the death that it’s in there and it’s true. Sun and stars orbit the earth. Just cause man’s here, no other reason. Rest of the world should bow down and kiss American butt cause Jesus is coming to save us, and us alone. Somethin’ to do with the flag, it seems.
“Now me,” he said, “Guess I lean more toward being a kind of a pantheist.” He stopped to scratch at the knee of his jeans as I felt the dull thud of the word ‘pantheist’ falling so casually from the mouth of a cowpoke.
“Does that mean you worship a whole bunch of Gods?” I asked.
“Just means everything’s holy; everyone’s got their own layers of how it all fits together; gotta listen to ever’body. All religions play their parts.”
“That must’ve gone over big.”
“Didn’t set so well with Daddy I’m afraid, no.” He shook his head slowly. “He was out there preachin’ some things just didn’t quite fit in with how the world looked to me. When he wasn’t herding cattle, he was herding minds and souls. But you know, it’s kinda hard to keep ’em penned in once the cattle’s learned to think. So one day I just wandered off.”
“To think things through your own way.”
“More like listening. Seems you can figure out a lot by just listening in on the soul of things. Starts to look like there really is some kinda meaning out there and it’s not cutting us all apart; it’s taking us all somewheres together.”
Who was this hippie cowboy?
“There’s so many folks out there thinkin’ prayer is only so’s they can tell God exactly what they want. Settin’ around waitin’ for Him to drop it in their lap. ‘I put my faith in Him, so He owes me.’
“Been figger’n on that’n a long time. All things don’t necessarily come to folks who don’t do nothin’ but wait. Even if they’re prayin’ while they’re settin’ there. You can put all the faith in God you want to, but you try crammin’ Him behind the wheel while you nap in the back seat; you’re still gonna drive into a tree.”
The frayed and gritty edges of everyone’s world were being worried away by neighbors you’d never noticed until the air spilled over with the tragedy of their loss. The war had taken them or their children; killed them, lost them, torn off body parts, shipped them back brain-fried.
Or, in the best of stories, trailing heaps of pain-wrenched glory. Somehow, though, even those tales of heroism, those dim lights you searched for through psychological and spiritual famine, groping desperately through all that gloom, even those somehow seemed to just glance off the surface of the pain they carried inside. They sounded so defensive; like the good parts were mostly just make-believe. Friends of friends poured out each loved one’s heroism with swelled chest, but always followed the script, those same exact words, every time exactly the same, as though they never dared vary one single word, go wandering off, thinking things through. Tales fell from hearts in heavy, wet tones of grief and confusion.
Even when rare moments of relative calm and clarity crept briefly through our days, they crawled in with head hanging through that most familiar of all tunnels, our sense of loss. Each new friend seemed only to step in and announce himself with his last breath. Why hadn’t we loved him earlier when there had been more time?
That overriding sense of loss was the dismal cloud through which you viewed the world. Dreading life’s relentless advance, but knowing your locks could never keep it out.
There really is something about deserts that reaches beyond time and reason. During the day, the landscape looks harsh and uninviting. Like life has utterly abandoned the place. And yet even under that relentless sun there’s a vast and barren beauty to its blanched-out hills, rocks, and the phalanxes of palms marching through.
Then a sudden cooling into evening suggests that even arid wastelands might have been created by someone who still loves them dearly. Maybe even God needs a place to get away. Or send lost and wandering souls to who haven’t found their ways back into heaven.
Through those long desert nights you feel spirits skittering about; chanting; moaning; dancing their mysteries, losses, and delights. You sit among rocks and sands, soaking in the ethereal luminescence of desert after twilight. An eerie whisper of flirtatious winds and unnerving silences dives into your core out of the void, unwinding it, setting your soul on edge, and then just as suddenly leaps back away into nothing.
That first night, a huge, unbridled moon and relentless surge of stars pounded my heart into a teary-eyed smile. That hit-and-run magic whispered. Transcendental eeriness soaked through everything, stirring senses I didn’t know I had, awakening things inside me that had lain fallow for lifetimes; ages; and I knew why indigenous peoples named the winds.