Synopses & Reviews
"A veteran of the well-trodden Camino de Santiago (The Way of the Stars) pilgrimage route, Canadian journalist Sibley explores the spirit of religious journey on a two-month trek around Japan's Shikoku island. This traditional route, the 'Henro Michi,' links 88 temples associated with KÃ…ÂbÃ…Â Daishi (KÃ…Â«kai), founder of the esoteric Shingon school of Buddhism. Sibley describes the 870-mile walk as often brutally difficult, yet as he encountered stunning Pacific vistas, had his 'nÃ…ÂkyÃ…ÂchÃ…Â' (book) stamped at each temple, and accepted offerings ('settai') from residents, he found himself slipping into 'pilgrim mind.' Early in the trek Sibley unexpectedly acquires two walking companions who provide both assistance and complications, prompting some ambivalence on the part of the author, who prizes solitude. Sibley's acute psychological observations are interwoven not only with vivid details but historical and cultural contexts of the ancient Shikoku pilgrimage. Throughout his journey, Sibley asks himself and the travelers he meets why walking the path is important. While he finds no one answer, this accomplished narrative demonstrates that the impulse to seek inner change through a physical journey, if mysterious, is enduring. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.