A Bad Beginning : The Path to Islam by Gai Eaton
368 pages Pb 2010
Charles Le Gai Eaton is the author of three major works on Islam which have had a profound influence on young Muslims in the West, offering them an alternative both to extremism and to the narrow perspective of immigrant parents. Now, as an octogenarian, he looks back on his troubled early life and on the circumstances which led him,
at the age of 30, to Islam. This autobiography is the story of a born sceptic's search for faith while preoccupied with questions of race and class, sex and money. After a strange childhood completely isolated from other children, he was educated at Charterhouse and Cambridge to become, succesively, an actor, a teacher and journalist in Jamaica
where he was involved in the island's politics, a diplomat, a writer and finally, consultant to the leading Islamic institution in Britain.
He describes what he has called the 'Victorian drama' of his parentage and the life of deception he was obliged to lead to protect his elderly father's reputation. Fascinated by the vagaries of human behaviour and the strangeness of human destinies he has observed the human scene with a novelist's eye and traced the profound changes in attitudes and tastes which have taken place in a single lifetime. At the same time he has recounted his youthful adventures with the clear-sight and understanding only possible for someone whom age has freed from the passions which once possessed him. What makes this work unique is the juxtaposition of hindsight with diary entries made at the time, which gives a quality of immediacy to a true story that includes reminiscences of a writer whose first encouragement was from T.S. Eliot, to the diplmatic life and an outline of the Sufi path.
GAI EATON is the author of King of the Castle: Choice & Responsibilty in the Modern World (1977), praised by Bernard Levin for its 'vigour, clarity and wit'; Islam and the Destiny of Man (1985): 'An urgent piece of writing, a reading of "what we are and where we are" - TLS; and Remembering God, Reflections of Islam (2000), described by Seyyed Hussain Nasr as 'a call from the heart meant to reach across the boundaries that separate the West and the Islamic world'.
This product was added to our catalog on Sunday 31 October, 2010.