My Life with Carlos Castaneda
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About the author
Amy Wallace has published twelve books, including The Psychic Healing Book with Bill Henkin, and with her family co-authored the #1 New York Times bestselling Book of Lists series, which sold millions of copies world-wide. Her solo works include the highly acclaimed erotic novel, Desire, and the best-selling biography The Prodigy: The Life of William James Sidis. She lives in Los Angeles, California.
Sorcerer’s Apprentice opens with Amy Wallace’s first meeting with Carlos Castaneda, the infamous anthropologist-turned-shaman, whose books described meetings with Yaqui Indian spiritual teacher don Juan. Castaneda’s rise was meteoric in the late 1960s as he wrote massive bestsellers, inspired many to experiment with psychedelics, and was dubbed “the Godfather of the New Age.” The possibility that Castaneda’s experiences may have been fabricated did little to compromise his legend.As the daughter of best-selling novelist Irving Wallace, Amy was rarely shy around famous people. When her father insisted she meet Castaneda, she at first demurred. Little did she know that a delightful first meeting would begin a 20-year friendship, followed by her descent into the dramatic and deeply troubled affair chronicled in this book. Sorcerer’s Apprentice unblinkingly reveals the inner workings of the “Cult of Carlos,” run by a charismatic authoritarian in his sixties who controlled his young female followers through emotional abuse, mind games, bizarre rituals, dubious teachings, and sexual excess. Wallace’s story is both specific and universal, a captivating cautionary tale about the dangers of giving up one’s power to a tyrant–and about surviving assaults on body and spirit.
North Atlantic Books
; July 2013
448 pages; ISBN 9781583948095Read online
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Title: Sorcerer's Apprentice
Author: Amy Wallace
In the press
"Amy Wallace expertly maps the territory where mysticism merges into insanity, or perhaps the unmarked land between screwball comedy and terrifying tragedy. I can’t recall a stranger, sadder narrative than this."—Carolyn See, author of Making a Literary Life“Truth hurts … and so does Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Amy Wallace’s harrowing account of her years as Carlos Castaneda’s lover and disciple is a cautionary tale for our times, the story of a woman whose search for meaning took her to the brink, and damned near cost her everything. In this painfully honest memoir, she takes us deep inside the Castaneda cult and shows us the mind games, ego trips, and petty cruelties that wore the guise of wisdom. ‘Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!’ the Wizard once tried to tell Dorothy. Amy Wallace has ripped the curtain down, and laid the wizard bare for all to see.”—George R.R. Martin, author of A Game of Thrones“Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a haunting and brutally honest memoir that reads like a tender love story and, at the same time, a taut psychological thriller. Amy Wallace writes with wisdom, grace, courage, and candor about one of the most charismatic figures of all our times, and she allows us to witness both the splendor and the danger of entrusting one’s fate to a powerful man or woman.”—Jonathan Kirsch, author of The Harlot by the Side of the Road and The Woman Who Laughed at God"I simply could not put this book down. Amy Wallace’s relationship with Carlos Castaneda was transformative, exciting, abusive, and painful. This is a cautionary tale, containing essential insights for all of us. Thank you, Amy, for having the courage to tell your story so that others may learn from it, and from the redemptive powers of your own healing."—Susan Piver, author of The Hard Questions