In the Hot Unconscious

Charles Foster’s latest book, ‘In the Hot Unconscious: An Indian Journey’, has just been published. It’s about how myths are made and perceived, and about the conversation that has to happen, and usually doesn’t, between the mystical traditions of East and West, and between the two sides of our own heads.

What critics are saying:

‘Foster must by now be the greatest living travel writer in the English-speaking world. His vision is both extraordinarily acute and astonishingly wide, his prose tumbling forth like a lava flow straight from some muse of fire, hitting the page so hot that you can smell the scorching rocks and find yourself ducking for cover. Yet, not content with writing about India more evocatively, fondly, quizzically, searchingly, vibrantly, and, at times, comically than anyone I have ever read, he has also written here one of the finest tales of self-exploration, a work of deep spiritual questioning that is as unstuffy and full of life as the teeming Hindu temples he encounters, with their erotic carvings, gibbering monkeys and ancient holy men. You are constantly taken by surprise by this exuberant, but ruthlessly self-aware, account of the most unconventional and riveting of pilgrimages. Indeed, can one call it a pilgrimage at all, this wild journey that starts, characteristically enough, with a quest for giant leeches, and ends leaving the great questions, as it must, (almost) unanswered?’
Iain McGilchrist, Author of The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World
‘Foster’s In the Hot Unconscious is a gem. Hilarious, charming and profound, it both mirrors and challenges the India it portrays. Having read it once, I wanted only to read it again.’
John Keay, Author of Into India, The Honourable Company, The Gilgit Game, India: A History, The Great Arc, and Where Men and Mountains Meet
‘Charles Foster has accomplished a rare thing. He has managed to write a book about religion that is funny, witty, totally irreverent, completely pleasurable, and utterly profound. Chesterton said, ‘It is a test of a good religion whether you can make a joke about it.’ He must have had someone like Foster in mind. Highly recommended. I couldn’t put it down.’
Larry Dossey, M.D. Author: Healing Words: Reinventing Medicine, and The Power of Premonitions
‘I recommend highly the critical and creative work of Charles Foster. While at times controversial, the book is a creative encounter of the dynamic Indian traditions by a perceptive western pilgrim. It’s incisive and insightful – a genuine and honest contribution to dialogue between cultures. The author has experienced Indian life at close quarters, seeing things invisible to tourists.’
Kurivilla Pandikattu, Author of Surplus, Submission, Subversion, The Human Search, and Love: Be It
‘It’s a joy when a polymath such as Charles Foster can connect western and eastern religion in such an accessible and readable way. Here he tackles an involved subject from a grassroots level – the level of conversations with Indians met by chance on his travels – producing a thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining book.’

Clive Limpkin, Author of India Exposed.
‘This fascinating, quirky, finely written book will take you deep into the sometimes fierce challenges that are encountered in an authentic East-West dialogue. Charles Foster is an original and passionate guide to the rewards and difficulties that arise through confronting the reality of India and its great tradition.’

Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: a Guide to Sacred Activism and A Journey in Ladakh
‘In the Hot Subconscious is both a fascinating spiritual memoir and a picaresque travelogue. Though steeped in the traditions of East and West, and willing to go to great, even painful lengths in search of wisdom, Foster is much funnier and much more aware of the traps of ego than most writer-seekers who have found themselves in India. The result is as poetic and moving as it is humorous.’

Jonathan Foreman, New York Post


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