cover image Walking Through Walls: A Memoir

Walking Through Walls: A Memoir

Philip Smith, . . Atria, $23 (332pp) ISBN 978-1-4165-4294-0

Smith, an artist and former managing editor of GQ magazine, reflects on his youth in 1960s Miami. He wanted “a father who mowed the lawn, drank beer, and fell asleep in front of the TV.” Instead, his dad, Lew Smith, was a successful interior decorator, who went through a “macrobiotic transformation” and began tuning into mystical vibrations. Young Philip was introduced to fasting and yogic diets, while Lew explored esoteric spirituality, reincarnation, Bach Flower Remedies and such metaphysical arcana as the akashic records, an “ethereal Library of Congress” of every soul in human history: “[Philip] wasn't sure if this endless invisible database also included reruns of I Love Lucy or Perry Mason , but it probably did.” After a 1968 encounter with famed trance medium Arthur Ford, Lew found his true calling as a psychic healer, and “overnight our isolated house became Lourdes central.” Smith's fine flair for waggish anecdotes is especially evident in his riotous recall of being suckered into Scientology at age 17. He looks back at his father with much affection in this mirthful memoir that bounces between the comic and the cosmic. Smith is a gifted humorist, and readers are certain to request more merriment. (Sept. 16)