Brion Gysin Uncut

Have you ever seen a more revealing photo of Brion Gysin than the one on the cover of “His Name Was Master: Texts; Interviews”? It shows a profound sense of dislocation, something Gysin often talked about but rarely showed in his demeanor—which was characteristically grand and worldly and often laced with humor. This sprawling book by Genesis Breyer P-Orridge with Peter Christoferson and Jon Savage offers Gysin in talking mode. It is Gysin uncut. Having already been comprehensively reviewed in The Brooklyn Rail, it needs no review from me. More interesting than anything I might have to say is Gysin’s account of his brief, teenage involvement with the Surrealists. The disappointment, not to say trauma, of that experience was a harbinger of later ones.