Synopses & Reviews
In her midforties and settled into the responsibilities and routines of adulthood, Dani Shapiro found herself with more questions than answers. Was this all life was—a hodgepodge of errands, dinner dates, e-mails, meetings, to-do lists? What did it all mean?
Having grown up in a deeply religious and traditional family, Shapiro had no personal sense of faith, despite repeated attempts to create a connection to something greater. Feeling as if she was plunging headlong into what Carl Jung termed "the afternoon of life," she wrestled with self-doubt and a searing disquietude that would awaken her in the middle of the night. Set adrift by loss—her father's early death; the life-threatening illness of her infant son; her troubled relationship with her mother—she had become edgy and uncertain. At the heart of this anxiety, she realized, was a challenge: What did she believe? Spurred on by the big questions her young son began to raise, Shapiro embarked upon a surprisingly joyful quest to find meaning in a constantly changing world. The result is Devotion: a literary excavation to the core of a life.
In this spiritual detective story, Shapiro explores the varieties of experience she has pursued—from the rituals of her black hat Orthodox Jewish relatives to yoga shalas and meditation retreats. A reckoning of the choices she has made and the knowledge she has gained, Devotion is the story of a woman whose search for meaning ultimately leads her home. Her journey is at once poignant and funny, intensely personal—and completely universal.
“I was immensely moved by this elegant book, which reminded me all over again that all of us-at some point or another-must buck up our courage and face down the big spiritual questions of life, death, love, loss and surrender.” Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
“This is a beautiful, wry and moving story about one intelligent womans journey into her own life, to the corners where intelligence doesnt always help.” Amy Bloom, author of Away
“Dani Shapiro takes readers on an intense journey in search of meaning and peace. Her story of hope is eloquently told and unflinchingly honest.” Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass CastleJeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle
“I was on the verge of tears more than once in the course of Dani Shapiros impeccably structured spiritual odyssey. But Devotions biggest triumph is its voice: funny and unpretentious, concrete and earthy-appealing to skeptics and believers alike. This is a gripping, beautiful story.” Jennifer Egan, author of The Keep
“Dani Shapiros novels and nonfiction are always rich in honesty and intelligence, about the psyche and lost hearts and families, about messes and shame and what calls us to transcend.” Anne Lamott, author of Grace (Eventually)
“The one book that anyone over, say, 35 needs to read right now.” Jesse Kornbluth, Huffington Post
“Brave, compelling, unexpectedly witty. . . . Stunningly intimate journey. . . . Thanks to Shapiros excruciatingly honest self-examination and crystal clear, lyrical writing, the journeyas secular swami Steve Jobs once famously saidis indeed the reward.” People (4 out of 4 stars)
s biggest triumph is its voice: funny and unpretentious, concrete and earthy—appealing to skeptics and believers alike. This is a gripping, beautiful story.” —Jennifer Egan, author of The Keep
“I was immensely moved by this elegant book.” —Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
Dani Shapiro, the acclaimed author of the novel Black and White and the bestselling memoir Slow Motion, is back with Devotion: a searching and timeless new memoir that examines the fundamental questions that wake women in the middle of the night, and grapples with the ways faith, prayer, and devotion affect everyday life. Devotion is sure to appeal to all those dealing with the trials and tribulations of what Carl Jung called “the afternoon of life.”
About the Author
Dani Shapiro's most recent books include the novels Black &Whiteand Family Historyand the bestselling memoir Slow Motion. Her short stories and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, Elle, Vogue, Ploughshares, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among other publications. She lives with her husband and son in Litchfield County, Connecticut.