A Sense of Direction: Pilgrimage for the Restless and the Hopeful

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Riverhead Books, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 344 pages
27 Reviews
       In medieval times, a pilgrimage gave the average Joe his only break from the daily grind. For Gideon Lewis-Kraus, it promises a different kind of escape. Determined to avoid the kind of constraint that kept his father, a gay rabbi, closeted until midlife, he has moved to anything-goes Berlin. But the surfeit of freedom there has begun to paralyze him, and when a friend extends a drunken invitation to join him on an ancient pilgrimage route across Spain, he grabs his sneakers, glad of the chance to be committed to something and someone. 
       Irreverent, moving, hilarious, and thought-provoking, A Sense of Direction is Lewis-Kraus's dazzling riff on the perpetual war between discipline and desire, and its attendant casualties. Across three pilgrimages and many hundreds of miles - the thousand-year-old Camino de Santiago, a solo circuit of eighty-eight Buddhist temples on the Japanese island of Shikoku, and, together with his father and brother, an annual mass migration to the tomb of a famous Hasidic mystic in the Ukraine - he completes an idiosyncratic odyssey to the heart of a family mystery and a human dilemma: How do we come to terms with what has been and what is - and find a way forward, with purpose? 

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Gideon Lewis-Kraus is a fine writer. - Goodreads
But his writing can be great in places. - Goodreads
My advice is to just skip it. - Goodreads

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - skraft001 - LibraryThing

I picked up this book for the Camino pilgrimage portion of the book. The Shikoku was Ok and I abandoned the section on the Jewish pilgrimage with his father and brother. Read full review

Review: A Sense of Direction: Pilgrimage for the Restless and the Hopeful

User Review  - Jennifer Barclay - Goodreads

I really enjoyed the first third of this - the author has some witty lines and he's good at humorous interaction with his friends. But when he starts to philosophize, he's not so good - and he does it ... Read full review

About the author (2012)

 Gideon Lewis-Kraus has written for Harper's, The Believer, The New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, n+1, McSweeney's, Bookforum, The Nation, Slate, and other publications. A 2007-8 Fulbright fellowship brought him to Berlin, world capital of contemporary restlessness. He has more or less settled in Brooklyn. 

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