Thanks Sharafin Gardner for this review on The Breaking of the Shell:
“I picked up Barry’s book after a talk , having no idea what it was about .
My main interest was to find out more where Barry was coming from.
Karen Armstrong ends her book A short a History of Myth
“If it is written and read with serious attention, a novel like a myth or
any great work of art, can become an initiation that helps us to make a
painful rite of passage of from one phase of life, one state of mind to
another. A novel, like a myth teaches us to see the world differently. It
shows us to look into our own hearts and to see our own our world from a
perspective that goes beyond our own self interest. …. artists and
creative writers can perhaps step into a priestly role and bring fresh
insight to our lost and damaged world.
Barry’s book certainty does just this . I read it avidly before going to
sleep at night in the middle of a Congress ,and now I’ve had the privilege
of going back to it, to look more deeply into what Barry is trying to
It is the life story of a man with a difficult background and childhood
traumas which lead to a breakup of his marriage and confusion in his
professional life, but ultimately he finds his way. The chapters alternate
between his early life and the recent past, and engage the reader to
The messages? Well there several. For me the most important are :
” Pain Is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. What
do these words mean for you? The answer will come
if you allow yourself to be patient” .
“You have two ears and one mouth, use them in the proportions that God
“Right action follows as a natural consequence of right listening. Very
often you don’t have to do anything to follow the path of right listening”.
” Men hold the keys to power and the power is currently being used
destructively. Soon women will have duplicates once more “.
“Your feelings of guilt create only one result: self destruction”.
From the other world his father sends a message: “I stand today in the
golden pool of light which is the birthright of each and every one of us. It
is the pool of acceptance “.
It is a vivid parable for our time .So I urge you read it and find out what
it does for you.”