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1 Hawthorne Travel Writing- General

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

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

ISBN13: 9781594487255
ISBN10: 1594487251
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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?

Review:

"A young writer seeks a cure for his fecklessness by following roads very much taken in this scintillating travel memoir. After floundering in Berlin's entropic bohemia — equal parts pretentious art opening and woozy after-party — Lewis-Kraus embarked with a friend on the 500-mile pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostella in Spain. Its route marked with imperious yellow arrows, the trek offered 'pointless direction' toward the sacred that temporarily eases his anxiety over what to do with his life, as well as sweltering death marches, gory blisters, and an international cast of oddball penitents. His pilgrimage itinerary continues with a circuit of 88 temples on the Japanese island of Shikoku — a lonely ordeal of cold rain, tasty rice balls, and piquant Buddhist legends — and a trip to a Ukrainian Hassidic shrine accompanied by his father, an ex-rabbi turned flamboyant gay demimondaine. The author's resolve to undergo a comparably epic inner journey sometimes causes the narrative to bog down in navel-gazing and excessive palaver about his testy relationship with his dad. Fortunately, Lewis-Kraus's vivid descriptive powers and funny, shaggy-dog philosophizing carry readers past the rough patches. The result is an entertaining, thoughtful portrait of a slacker caught up in life's quest for something. Agent: Tina Bennett." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"If David Foster Wallace had written Eat, Pray, Love, it might have come close to approximating the adventures of Gideon Lewis-Kraus. A Sense of Direction is the digressively brilliant and seriously hilarious account of a fellow neurotic's wanderings, and his hard-won lessons in happiness, forgiveness, and international pilgrim fashion." Gary Shteyngart

Review:

"Gideon Lewis-Kraus has written a very honest, very smart, very moving book about being young and rootless and even wayward. With great compassion and zeal he gets at the question: why search the world to solve the riddle of your own heart?" Dave Eggers

Review:

"This is a brilliant meditation on what the spiritual and fraternal and paternal and communal might mean to a person right now, fueled as it is by the funny, thorny, dreamy, generous, cranky, rigorous, truth-seeking voice of Gideon Lewis-Kraus. For the sake of whatever force or idea or feeling sustains you, make a pilgrimage to your nearest bookstore and buy the goddamn book." Sam Lipsyte

Review:

"Extraordinarily honest and funny....Here is one of the best and most brilliant young writers in America. A Sense of Direction is a book of great decency and originality." Tom Bissel, GQ

Review:

"Charming and disarming...a wonderful exploration of the stories we tell ourselves to justify and impart narrative weight to our curiosities and compulsions." T: The New York Times Magazine

Review:

"Physically, Lewis-Kraus' feats are staggering, but more so is how fully and fluidly he recounts them, alongside meditation on his own youthful anxieties and a well-synthesized history of the act of pilgrimage." Booklist

Review:

"Thought-provoking and engaging in the style of Bruce Chatwin or Paul Theroux, with ample sides of Thomas Merton and Augusten Burroughs." Kirkus

Synopsis:

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 fear and self-sacrifice 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, Lewis-Kraus packs his bag, grateful for the chance to wake each morning with a sense of direction.

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, 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?

Synopsis:

and#160; and#160; and#160; and#160;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.and#160;

and#160; and#160; and#160; and#160;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?and#160;

About the Author

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Addy, June 19, 2012 (view all comments by Addy)
Gideon Lewis-Kraus takes the readers on a bittersweet journey... his walks through northern Spain and south east Japan. His description of the landscape is vivid and beautifully written, at times almost poetic. You end up understanding and empathizing with his frustrations and his anguish.

This book is enormously profound and moving, and can't fail to touch even the most jaded!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(13 of 13 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781594487255
Subtitle:
Pilgrimage for the Restless and the Hopeful
Author:
Lewis-Kraus, Gideon
Publisher:
Riverhead Hardcover
Subject:
Travel Writing-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20120510
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
three b/w maps throughout
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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A Sense of Direction: Pilgrimage for the Restless and the Hopeful Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Riverhead Hardcover - English 9781594487255 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "A young writer seeks a cure for his fecklessness by following roads very much taken in this scintillating travel memoir. After floundering in Berlin's entropic bohemia — equal parts pretentious art opening and woozy after-party — Lewis-Kraus embarked with a friend on the 500-mile pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostella in Spain. Its route marked with imperious yellow arrows, the trek offered 'pointless direction' toward the sacred that temporarily eases his anxiety over what to do with his life, as well as sweltering death marches, gory blisters, and an international cast of oddball penitents. His pilgrimage itinerary continues with a circuit of 88 temples on the Japanese island of Shikoku — a lonely ordeal of cold rain, tasty rice balls, and piquant Buddhist legends — and a trip to a Ukrainian Hassidic shrine accompanied by his father, an ex-rabbi turned flamboyant gay demimondaine. The author's resolve to undergo a comparably epic inner journey sometimes causes the narrative to bog down in navel-gazing and excessive palaver about his testy relationship with his dad. Fortunately, Lewis-Kraus's vivid descriptive powers and funny, shaggy-dog philosophizing carry readers past the rough patches. The result is an entertaining, thoughtful portrait of a slacker caught up in life's quest for something. Agent: Tina Bennett." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "If David Foster Wallace had written Eat, Pray, Love, it might have come close to approximating the adventures of Gideon Lewis-Kraus. A Sense of Direction is the digressively brilliant and seriously hilarious account of a fellow neurotic's wanderings, and his hard-won lessons in happiness, forgiveness, and international pilgrim fashion."
"Review" by , "Gideon Lewis-Kraus has written a very honest, very smart, very moving book about being young and rootless and even wayward. With great compassion and zeal he gets at the question: why search the world to solve the riddle of your own heart?"
"Review" by , "This is a brilliant meditation on what the spiritual and fraternal and paternal and communal might mean to a person right now, fueled as it is by the funny, thorny, dreamy, generous, cranky, rigorous, truth-seeking voice of Gideon Lewis-Kraus. For the sake of whatever force or idea or feeling sustains you, make a pilgrimage to your nearest bookstore and buy the goddamn book."
"Review" by , "Extraordinarily honest and funny....Here is one of the best and most brilliant young writers in America. A Sense of Direction is a book of great decency and originality."
"Review" by , "Charming and disarming...a wonderful exploration of the stories we tell ourselves to justify and impart narrative weight to our curiosities and compulsions."
"Review" by , "Physically, Lewis-Kraus' feats are staggering, but more so is how fully and fluidly he recounts them, alongside meditation on his own youthful anxieties and a well-synthesized history of the act of pilgrimage."
"Review" by , "Thought-provoking and engaging in the style of Bruce Chatwin or Paul Theroux, with ample sides of Thomas Merton and Augusten Burroughs."
"Synopsis" by ,

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 fear and self-sacrifice 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, Lewis-Kraus packs his bag, grateful for the chance to wake each morning with a sense of direction.

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, 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?

"Synopsis" by ,
and#160; and#160; and#160; and#160;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.and#160;

and#160; and#160; and#160; and#160;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?and#160;

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