Riverhead Books Aflame: Learning from Silence Riverhead Books Aflame: Learning from Silence
Riverhead Books Aflame: Learning from Silence Riverhead Books Aflame: Learning from Silence

Aflame: Learning from Silence

By Pico Iyer


Publication Date: January 14, 2025

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From the bestselling author of The Art of Stillness, a revelatory exploration of the abiding clarity and calm to be found in quiet retreat

Pico Iyer has made more than one hundred retreats over the past three decades to a small Benedictine hermitage high above the sea in Big Sur, California. He’s not a Christian—or a member of any religious group—but his life has been transformed by these periods of time spent in silence. That silence reminds him of what is essential and awakens a joy that nothing can efface. It’s not just freedom from distraction and noise and rush: it’s a reminder of some deeper truths he misplaced along the way.

In Aflame, Iyer connects with inner stillness and joy in his many seasons at the monastery, even as his life is going through constant change: a house burns down, a parent dies, a daughter is diagnosed with cancer. He shares the revelations he experiences, alongside wisdom from other nonmonastics who have learned from adversity and inwardness. And most profoundly, he shows how solitude can be a training in community and companionship. In so doing, he offers a unique outsider’s view of monastic life—and of a group of selfless souls who have dedicated their days to ensuring there’s a space for quiet and recollection that’s open to us all.

Radiant, intimate, and gripping, Aflame offers ageless counsel about the power of silence and what it can teach us about how to live, how to love, and, ultimately, how to die.

Story Locale:California

About the Author

Pico Iyer is the acclaimed and bestselling author of more than a dozen books translated into twenty-three languages, most recently The Half Known Life: In Search of Paradise. His journalism has appeared in Time, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, the Financial Times, and more than 250 other periodicals worldwide. His TED talks have been viewed over eleven million times. He divides his time between Japan and a Benedictine hermitage in California.

Author Residence: Nara, Japan

Author Hometown: London, England

Format: Hardcover

Length: 240 pages

Publisher: Riverhead Books

Publication Date: January 14, 2025

ISBN: 9780593420287

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