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It was a different time in a different world. Terry Tarnoff spent eight years during the 1970s traveling throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. It was the early days of exploring what were to become legendary spots on the traveler’s trail. Whether playing the clubs of Amsterdam, skirting the Yakuza in Japan, surviving the winters of Kathmandu, or forming a band in Goa, India, Terry’s adventures are alternately engrossing, hilarious and deeply moving.

Once Upon a Time in Goa is Tarnoff’s long-awaited follow-up to The Bone Man of Benares, a highly acclaimed book and play that told the first half of the story. Once Upon a Time in Goa continues the tale, adding new meaning as it looks back from the perspective of modern times upon a period that continues to fascinate people of all generations across the globe.


“In the long-awaited sequel to his brilliant The Bone Man of Benares, Terry Tarnoff’s memoir, Once Upon a Time in Goa reminds me of Daguerre’s description of photography as a mirror with a memory, with the significant twist that Tarnoff’s is a circus mirror, revealing psychedelic images and picaresque stories from the fabled traveler’s trail of the now mythic Sixties. Moreover, Tarnoff employs a dazzling writing technique, which is the equivalent of scrying, gazing into a reflective surface to review the past and foretell the future, that allows the reader to watch him watching himself on his pilgrim’s progress through life. A tour-de-force of memoir and travel writing.”
– Phil Cousineau, author of The Art of Pilgrimage and host of the PBS television series, Global Spirit

Once Upon a Time in Goa is a truly original book, a combination travel book and memoir with a smattering of fiction. It vividly recalls Terry Tarnoff’s eight years in the late sixties and seventies spent travelling and making music in Europe, Africa and Asia. The writing is highly inventive as is the narration (one section sees the action through the viewpoint of a blue-headed wagtail). Tarnoff playfully sets off the actions of his earlier self against his present-day reflections, admitting at the beginning that his will be ‘jumble of memories. . . things out of order.’ In search of an answer to things, he ends up asserting that it was the journey that counted, not any discoveries about the meaning of it all. I highly recommend this exceptionally entertaining and wonderfully written book. If you want a break from normality, this is for you.”
– Brian Finney, author of Money Matters: A Novel