Hailed as a classic when it first appeared in 1972, Michael Murphy's novel combines an amiable Zen mysticism with what many consider the very mystical - and sometimes downright frustrating - sport of golf. At its center is the charming guru of the Scottish links, Shivas Irons, whose instruction is as pertinent in life as it is on the course. After a long wait, this shamanic golf pro reappeared in 1997 for the follow-up novel, The Kingdom of Shivas Irons.
©1998 Michael Murphy (P)1998 Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House, Inc.
"Murphy's book is going to alter many visions." (New York Times Book Review)
"...[Murphy has] put a lot of fine thoughts together here, most gracefully, and the book should have a long and prosperous life." (Joseph Campbell)
This book is really well written and an enjoyable read. It definitely has some literary merit. It is also a great reminder of the spiritual side of golf, as well as a call not to think of the game as Western culture thinks of the world: overly technical, scientistic, or mechanistic. Great golf, Murphy suggests, does not boil down to technique. Instead, it is a microcosm of the world, life, psychology; it is a chance to improve yourself along with your game, or at least a chance to better understand yourself. It's almost a hymn to the poetry of the game with some great poetry of its own.
That said, it spends a lot of time - too much for me - on mysticism, what it calls "true gravity," para psychology, metaphysics (not the stuff of Western philosophy but the stuff of crystals and astrology), self help, and so forth. In that sense, it's almost like its theme (golf) is secondary and inconsequential to the main substance of the book (basically, I'm guessing whatever they teach at the Esalen Institute, which was co-founded by the author). I bet the author could have written the same exact book about any other sport or mystical experience.
No. While the book is a golf classic, I think it was silly to cast a Scottish sounding performer to read the book clearly written by an American.
Why would they select a Scottish sounding performer when the book is clearly written by an American? It is very strange to listen to the book(I have read a couple times) be read by a Scottish sounding person.
The lovely Scottish voice of John Hannah (Four Weddings and a Funeral) attracted me to this audiobook, which is a fantastic tale of golf and spirituality - a young man travels to Scotland to play a famous course and falls under the tutelage of the local golf pro / guru. I'm not a golfer but you don't have to know too much about the game to follow the book. I found the philosophy a bit new age for my liking, but still an enjoyable listen.
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