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Breakfast at the Victory

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  158 ratings  ·  19 reviews
"This was true mystical vision. This I could never have anticipated. But I knew that we were both on the same galactic journey into the great void that contains us all. I was standing before a boundlessness that could swallow the stars in a heartbeat."--from Breakfast at the Victory
ebook, 224 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1994)
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(showing 1-30 of 272)
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Martin Rowe
James Carse was my professor at NYU twenty years ago when I was taking a master's degree in religious studies. I found him a very congenial thinker and his turns of mind soon became my own. Reading his book again almost twenty years after reading it for the first time, I find myself nostalgic for Carse's paradoxes and how subtle displacements shift the obvious almost unnoticeably into the mystical. I'm also struck by how melancholy a book it is. Carse wrote it in the wake of his wife's death and ...more
James P. Carse’s Breakfast at the Victory: The Mysticism of Ordinary Experience is a collection of twelve meditations on several spiritual occurrences realized by the author in seemingly routine moments of his own life. The final product is an engaging assortment of reworked philosophical exposés aimed at revealing and assessing each moment in detail. Rather than fall prey to Breakfast’s impressive laundry-list of philosophical references and ideas, Carse uses his professorial knowledge to heigh ...more
If you have read any of Carse's other books you will enjoy this one. It connects his overall philosophy to daily life (i.e. the mysticism in the ordinary). Very good read to help clear your head.
I'm a big fan of James Carse's "Finite and Infinite Games", which I read just after college. This book contains much of the same philosophy, albeit in a very different format. Carse is a religion and philosophy professor, but his writings appeal to an agnostic like me. These chapters are nearly parables, stories demonstrating his points. So he tells a story of a glorious night of boldly steering a ship by the stars, only to find himself badly off course the next morning -- because the stars whee ...more
"The mysticism of the Victory Luncheonette was hidden in its ordinariness - which is to say that it was revealed in its ordinariness. Mystical vision is seeing how extraordinary the ordinary is." p. 15

I am not sure what I thought this book was about. I had heard of it many times over the last years, but apparently the title had not prepared me for the depth of Carse's thinking. I started this collection of essays at the gym, as a way to distract me from my walking. It was more of a hindrance tha
I was about to give up on this book, when I began to see it as a loose collection of essays on pre-Freudian depth psychology (what some would call mysticism). Taking incidents from his own life, the author finds those points where ordinary experience opened doors into altered states of awareness. These states are understood by him mostly in terms of traditions within the world religions. For readers unfamiliar with the mystical, Carse's explanations can founder in ambiguities that defy comprehen ...more
An entertaining and thought provoking read. Definitely a book that will remain on my book shelf for some time as a re-read in the future is in order.
Rn Haven
Jun 03, 2008 Rn Haven rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Philosphy majors and wannabes
Philosphy of Religion professor James Carse's challenging loose memoir provides a jumping off point for discussing extraordinary things encountered in every day living. It lost me for significant stretches during what seemed to be learned digressions, but I was intrigued nonetheless. He embraces possibility and alternative explanations and viewpoints that tread the border between absurd and sublime. I will return to this book some time to see if I can more fully borrow his lens as an alternative ...more
One of my favorite books. The best aspects of spiritual autobiography -- telling the story and revealing the transcendent in the everyday details of life and encounter with others. Told with a distinct voice, crisp and poignant recall, memorable characters, teaching stories without preaching. Reflective and deep without being obscure or inaccessible.
The story of human beings and our search for love, connection, and purpose. I barely do it justice to describe the contents.
The Sufi parable at the beginning of the title essay is alone worth the price of the book. Carse seeks (and finds) the sacred in the pedestrian, in those "modest events" that "came and went without announcing they were special." Best of all these is recounted in the inestimable "The Way the Soul Sees." This is a spiritual quest that finds its heaven in *this* life.
was my very favorite, read-once-a-year book from age 22 to 28. not sure if i went back if i would still like it or have outgrown it (a la tim robbins novels). given to me by the punk i worked at 7-11 with in champaign, it's a book about the mysticism of everyday life, an anecdotal intro to ideas of zen, tao, and other spiritual traditions.
Peggy Lo
I like the quietness of it and the strings of thoughts. The book is trying to convey something that can't be fully conveyed. It reminds me of what Bishop Marc said about quarter tones being something that can't be played but implied with two other notes by the space between them.
Mar 12, 2008 Jay rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: thinkers & feelers.
This is a very stirring read. The chapters are independent, so you can skip around, re-read, etc., in a very inductive, living way.

It's a book you stumble across in a private, old bookstore and believe you were cosmically divined to cross paths.
Carse uses stories from his life to illustrate some profound reflections on the nature of mind and reality. Philosophical but accessible by most readers. I enjoyed it.
Gaetan Giannini
I am a James Carse fan, and this was a great read. Good content and pleasurable reading.
philosophical spirituality meets personal anecdotes. It didn't really hold my attention
Meditations on the rich paradoxes of everyday experience.
Mild-mannered mystical musings.
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James P. Carse was a Professor of Religion at New York University.
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