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

Front Cover
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? 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
6
4 stars
7
3 stars
6
2 stars
5
1 star
3

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

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

User Review  - MaryJo - Goodreads

I was drawn to this book because of the pilgrimage theme. I went to Santiago a few years ago and saw the pilgrims at the cathedral. A few friends have walked sections of the Camino, and I am ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Michelle - Goodreads

Whiny, self-absorbed guy goes on three pilgrimage trips and ..... whines a lot more. I read most of this even though I was really sick of the author after the first trip. The goal being some sort of ... 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. 

Bibliographic information