The Shrine Thief
320 pp., 6 x 8 in, 15 b&w illus.
- Published: April 25, 2023
A renowned musician in his 85th year explores the nature of wisdom, how we learn to recognize it, and how we pass it forward.
In this entrancing memoir, timeless questions about music and life are explored by a master musician in his 85th year. The stern father who built an empire of words; the solipsistic uncle whose hypnotic voice calmed millions: these are just early glimpses of Mathieu's memory. Soon he is crimped into an overhead baggage rack in Stan Kenton's tour bus as scenes of scotch-soaked melancholy play out below; he is sharing late-night quarts of ice cream with Duke Ellington in his hotel room; he is co-inventing improvisational theater at Chicago's Second City with Alan Arkin and Mike Nichols; he is receiving the title of Sufi sheikh from an heir of Inayat Khan; and he is gleaning wisdom from a woman bundling firewood in Bali.
In prose at once wry and lyrical, Mathieu carries the reader through the adventures and misadventures of a scintillating and deeply examined life.