Guest, Tim 1975-
GUEST, Tim 1975-
PERSONAL: Born 1975.
ADDRESSES: Home—London, England. Agent—Denise Shannon Literary Agency, Inc., 20 West 22nd St., Suite 1603, New York, NY, 10010.
CAREER: Journalist and writer.
My Life in Orange, Granta Books (London, England), 2004, Harcourt, (Orlando, FL), 2005.
Contributor to Manchester Guardian and London Daily Telegraph.
SIDELIGHTS: In 2004 reporter Tim Guest published a "funny, gently ironic, closely observed, poignant and moving" memoir, to quote Spectator's Montagu Curzon. My Life in Orange is Guest's story of growing up in Indian ashrams led by Indian guru Bhagwan, to whom Guest's mother, Anne, was an adherent. Thus Guest grew up in the kids' hut of various communes, often far from his mother and only sporadically visiting his computer-whiz father in California. This nontraditional childhood took an emotional toll on Guest, for whom writing the memoir proved cathartic. "This calm, meditative, and even lyrical memoir is a testament to his recovery," remarked Manchester Guardian reviewer Elaine Showalter, who found that "the most disturbing and insightful aspect of Guest's memoir is his account of the way that commune children turned to each other, and to a precocious sexuality, for the intimacy missing in their lives." Yet, even in telling the story, Guest did not want to harm others involved. "While writing my memoir, I knew many of the people I portrayed would eventually read the book. I knew some would feel touched and some would feel hurt," he noted on his Home page. "At one point I considered changing names…. But above all I wanted the book to be honest—if not the truth, then at least a distillation of a certain kind of truth. My truth. I kept their real names."
My Life in Orange caught the attention of reviewers, several of whom commented on its poignancy. New Statesman writer William Leith described it as "terrific and rather sad," while M2 Best Books writer called it "both amusing and sad." Curzon cited Guest's "refreshing edge of objectivity, rare in spiritual sagas," for special note, adding that the author "grinds no axes, but makes his experience excellent grist to his mill." "This is an excellent study of what happens when a charismatic leader comes into contact with a group of rudderless, dispirited people. They follow him blindly," Leith concluded.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Guest, Tim, My Life in Orange, Granta Books (London, England), 2004, Harcourt, (Orlando, FL), 2005.
Guardian (Manchester, England), January 31, 2004, Elaine Showalter, review of My Life in Orange, p. 15.
M2 Best Books, May 12, 2004, Peter Haswell, review of My Life in Orange.
New Statesman, February 16, 2004, William Leith, "Spiritual Fraud," p. 52.
Spectator, January 10, 2004, Montagu Curzon, "A Child of the Ashram," p. 35.
Tim Guest Home Page, http://www.timguest.net (September 27, 2004).