In My Father’s Garden


he author sets out to understand her own spiritual yearnings. Through the lessons of her father’s garden, Chernin finds a balance between mind and the spirit, between contemplation and action. The image of her father in his garden helps awaken the author to a spiritual awareness and a realization that the world can be changed through gentle caring deeds on a small scale–as small (and as large) as her father’s garden.

As part of this journey, the author works with a dying woman, from whom she learns about healing and subsequently travels to German to visit the Hindu spiritual teacher, Mother Meera.


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“…the basis for a new ‘spiritual politics’– for which, in her honest, fluent book, she proves to be a passionate and gifted spokesperson.”

– Publisher’s Weekly

“Writing In My Father’s Garden was a risky act for Kim Chernin. The publication of one’s spiritual memoirs is bound to be hazardous; you are either playing the fool in the eyes of sceptics or you’re preaching to the saved (and only the saved, by the way, ever buy your book). For Chernin–a psychoanalyst who was raised by Marxist, atheist parents, and who has written other books that have been canonized into the body of literature devoted to “woman’s studies,”–the risk is multiplied. What could be more antithetical to her rational profession, more foreign to the feminist cause, or more treasonous to her parents’ ideology, than her joy in the discovery of a transcendent power?” But she risk all for good reason, advocacy of a new spiritual politics…”

– Louisville Neon

“Chernin’s latest book provides a candid counterpoint to her previous one, In My Mother’s House. Thoughtful and decidedly thought provoking, her account illuminates a writer’s connectedness to a father who had long existed in the shadow of a dynamic and temperamental mother. Moreover, Chernin (a noted psychoanalyst prolific writer, and well-known feminist) recreates her own richly rewarding path to inner growth, with a ‘declaration of…mystical learnings,’ revealed in three separate yet inherently commingled narratives. Surprising personal revelations and profound meditations contribute great depth of feeling to this luminous memoir.”

– Alice Joyce, Booklist

“Beautifully crafted parable of spiritual discovery…highly recommended.”

– Library Journal

“In My Father’s Garden, an attractive, hand-sized book…deals with the organic processes of death, decay and renewal and places them squarely in a spiritual context. Chernin has said her book is about the value of small things, “about repairing the world, doing small things over and over again as part of a larger effort to repair things.” The book strikes me as both a dialectic that lays the groundwork for spiritual politics and a validation of mystical experience, which is brave testimony by a woman raised an atheist intellectual who once regarded her principal achievement as the ability to reason abstractly.”

– Alice Evans, The Oregonian