When Lily Dunn was just six years old, her father left the family home to follow his guru to India, trading domestic life for clothes dyed in oranges and reds and the promise of enlightenment with the cult of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Since then he has been a mystery to her.
She grew up enthralled by the image of him; effervescent, ambitious and elusive, a writer, publisher and entrepreneur, a man who would appear with gifts from faraway places, and with whom she spent the long, hot summers of her teenage years in Italy, in the company of his wild and wealthy friends.
Yet he was also a compulsive liar, a delinquent, a man who abandoned his responsibilities in a pursuit of transcendence that took him from sex addiction, via the Rajneesh cult, to a relentless chase of money, which ended in ruin and finally addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs.
A detective story that charts two colliding narratives, Sins of My Father is a daughter's attempt to unravel the mysteries of a father who believed himself to be beyond reproach. A dazzling work of literary memoir, it asks how deep legacies of shame and trauma run, and if we can reconcile unconditional love with irreparable damage.
Sins of My Father is Dunn's attempt to know her father, constantly on the move, impossible to rely on . . . she puts it together as if she is a detective working a long-forgotten cold case, and though its setting is very different, it reminded me of Laura Cummings' gripping memoir, On Chapel Sands . . . there is beauty in its crisp, cold clarity . . . as vivid an account of addiction as I can remember reading. Sins of My Father is a testament to the damage done, but it reads, in the end, like the slow discovery of freedom * GUARDIAN *
This is a memoir of two lives: Dunn's father, who took enthusiastically to the Rajneesh cult and Dunn, whose life is overshadowed by this early abandonment. She writes with cold, controlled anger but also empathy. It's a gripping tale * THE TIMES *
An extraordinary story . . . brilliantly captures the painful truth of impossible love. Sins of My Father is both page-turning and lyrical, an inspiration . . . one of the best memoirs I've read in a long time -- CLOVER STROUD, author of MY WILD AND SLEEPLESS NIGHTS
Considerable courage is needed to return to the stark, bright light of trauma in this shirking-nothing way; but writing of this intensity has delivered an astonishing and valuable memoir -- Juliet Nicolson * THE SPECTATOR *
I was obsessed with Sins of My Father, a memoir which combines the emotional and the cerebral in telling the story of a life through the prism of a father's influence. The stories of the children of hippies, or parents who chose experimental lifestyles, is fascinating and fertile territory and although this story is Lily's own, she also speaks for a cohort. It is a victory of self-knowledge and compassion, as well as art -- AMY LIPTROT, author of THE OUTRUN
A brutally honest consideration of toxic familial love and human frailty * i NEWSPAPER *
Stunning. Beautifully crafted and brutally honest, Sins of My Father is a totally mesmerising journey through the outer limits of love -- DAVID WHITEHOUSE, author of ABOUT A SON
Superb . . . Sins of My Father is a terrific read, beautifully written and expertly structured. The book pulls off the difficult trick of laying bare just how morally bankrupt Lily's father was, while making the reader understand why she didn't give up on him until the very end * DAILY MAIL, Book of the Week *
Forensic in its compassion and precise in its love: an extraordinary account of an extraordinary life that produces great empathy for the universals of human frailty -- JENN ASHWORTH, author of GHOSTED
In Sins of My Father Lily Dunn has created an almost forensic analysis of the curse of the Charismatic Dad - on himself, his family and specifically here on his little daughter, who grows up under the desperate double shadow cast by addiction and devoted love, and finally in this memoir does all the painstaking, heartbreaking, ultimately fulfilling work that her father couldn't do -- LOUISA YOUNG, author of YOU LEFT EARLY
An intensely gripping memoir about the love between a daughter and a father. There's no end to the ways this father tests his loved ones, yet still his family keeps on trying and hoping for the best. A heart-stoppingly brilliant read that is as brutal and funny as it is raw and candid. I really wanted the craziness to stop - but I never wanted this book to end -- VIV GROSKOP, author of I LAUGHED, I CRIED
In this compelling memoir, Lily Dunn confronts the legacies of trauma and dysfunction that surround her complicated father. She writes with searing honesty and clarity, exploring what it means to step away from the shadow of our family and find our own voice -- LULAH ELLENDER, author of ELISABETH'S LISTS
Sins of My Father is a moving story about a golden, gifted family and their paradise lost. About a daughter escaping the dense gravitational pull of a charismatic father through the act of writing. By turns tender and forensic, loving then fierce, this book will speak to anyone who has had to love and let go -- TANYA SHADRICK, author of THE CURE FOR SLEEP
Sins of My Father is a powerful, necessary, brilliantly brave book. It is superlative; it hums and flies and sings. It is moving and true -- MARINA BENJAMIN, author of INSOMNIA
Lily Dunn manages the magic trick of rendering pain exquisite, and making beautiful the vacillation between heart and head, love and reason that characterises human relationships. The heady honesty of this book will reverberate in me for a long time -- ZOE GILBERT, author of MISCHIEF ACTS
Sins of My Father is a devastating work of love, pain and hope. Lily Dunn has created art and insight from chaos, joy and suffering -- SOFKA ZINOVIEFF, author of PUTNEY
In Sins of My Father Lily Dunn deftly explores the complexity of her father's choices; it's a startling book that will resonate with anyone who has loved a difficult parent and spent a lifetime trying to work them out -- ALI MILLAR, author of THE LAST DAYS
Unputdownable. A love story. A horror story. The unmasking of an unfortunately still much-beloved guru. A soul-searching that can teach us much about how to analyse and escape from a cruel narcissist. It is horrifying and real and brilliantly written -- JANJA LALICH, author of ESCAPING UTOPIA
With keen insight Dunn tells her story, of a sensitive child who adores her dashing, abandoning father, who grows up, as so many adult children of narcissists do, starving for the kind of parental love and recognition a narcissist is always too self-absorbed to bestow . . . her story of healing and struggling to build a good, strong, healthy life is moving and inspiring -- DANIEL SHAW, author of TRAUMATIC NARCISSISM
A notable addition to the canon of work on cults . . . At its most tender and difficult, Sins of My Father is really about the near intractable impossibility of moving beyond childhood trauma to transform a damaging legacy into something positive - and this is exactly what Dunn achieves with this remarkable book * CAUGHT BY THE RIVER *
Dimensions: 218mm x 140mm x 30mm