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Call Of The Camino : Myths, Legends and Pilgrim Stories on the Way to Santiago de Compostela Paperback – 12 Aug 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Findhorn Press(Uk); 1st Edition edition (12 Aug. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184409510X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844095100
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 1.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 41,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

I presently live in Edinburgh, Scotland, but have spent the past four winters in a small village in Galicia, in north-western Spain, running a pilgrim refuge on the Camino to Santiago de Compostela. When not busy tending to the pilgrims, I occupied myself by putting together a narrative based on my own pilgrimage in 2005, incorporating wherever possible the "lore" which continues to give meaning to the pilgrimage experience and which today includes the life stories of fellow pilgrims -- those stories which we tell ourselves about ourselves.

My short stories have appeared in literary magazines in North America, Spain, and the United Kingdom. A collection of these stories, "Americas", published in Canada, was short-listed for a Commonwealth First Book award.

I bring to my work - both to the fiction and to what I have so far written about the Camino - a lifelong interest in myths, storytelling and healing. We are all, I believe, by our very nature, storytellers, and it is through our stories that we account both for our world and for how we fare in it. And what could better illustrate this than a pilgrimage, which is to say, a long walk delineated by stories?

Product Description

Review

"Well-written (nothing is redundant), well-researched, and extremely readable, Robert Mullen has a rare gift for . . . conveying essential information about foreign terms and concepts without being either pedantic or condescending." --Alison Raju, author, The Way of St. James: Pyrenees-Santiago-Finistere

"Mullen brings a lovely blend of humour that always feels relevant and authentic . . . the Call of the Camino . . . might be the most important wake-up call of your life." --John Brierley, author, The Camino Guides

About the Author

Robert Mullen holds a B.Sc.( in computer science) and an M.Ed. (in computer-assisted instruction.) He has worked as a programmer/analyst, high school teacher and university lecturer. His short fiction has appeared in literary journals in North America, the United Kingdon, and Spain; a collection of his stories published in Canada was short-listed for a Commonwealth First Book award.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Swampo1958 on 2 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
The Way of St James or El Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in Northern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of Saint James are buried. Mullen is an American author living in Scotland, and his book is a modern day journey following the path into Spain from France that pilgrims have followed for over a thousand years.

Legend holds that St. James's remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain where he was buried in the city of Santiago de Compostela. As Mullen's stories along the way reveal, there are many stories of St James rescuing believers and arriving as a mysterious horseman in the eleventh hour to turn the direction of critical battles.

Mullen's book is a conversation between past and present. He cleverly overlays a strong sense of all the pilgrims that tramped the many miles across Spain over the centuries against a lively diary of his own journey. We meet as broad and strange a mix as any Chaucerian tale, some following the path as an act of religious observance, but most, like Mullen, looking for something. Mullen reminds us on many occasions of the mystery associated with the Camino, which quickly feels more than a route, and more like a spiritual journey. The Camino mends you, one pilgrim writes. A saying has it that the true Camino begins when you reach the end.
Mullen takes a self-consciously objective perspective, stating from the outset that he is not a person of faith, but using his diary of conversations, encounters, shared foods and eccentric fellow travellers as a way of reflecting on some of the big themes - the importance of myth-making and story-telling, and what we mean today by a sense of the soul.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By James G. McKelvie on 9 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
I have walked the Camino de Santiago from Geneva, and have read most of the literature there is out there on the subject. Many of the books on the Camino are dreadful-to-average, but this book stands out from the rest. Bob manages to instill the book with a real sense of the camino - the experience, the people and the places - and skilfully puts onto the page a real 'feeling' for the camino.
Whether you are a past pilgrim, future pilgrim or simply an armchair pilgrim, this will make a good read. I got itchy feet when I picked it up, and can sense that the camino may be calling me again!
If you buy only one book on the camino this year, this has to be the one.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Heron on 18 April 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book was neither one thing or the other. It didn't really cover that many myths or stories in depth, and was rather dry and without heart. The author went round in circles. One didn't get any feeling of his experience of the camino. I would prefer a completely personal and subjective account that was heartfelt and passionate, or a thoroughly researched reference book that was factual. This wafted between the two, but was never HEARTFELT.....He goes on alot about why humans need myths,but I didn't find this relevant to the subject. I am hoping to walk the Camino one day; this was one of the first books I read about it. Subsequently, I have found many more interesting, entertaining and inspiring books.....sorry Robert Mullen (I did buy your book, so you got the dosh, and this is just one opinion)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By AJK on 13 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
Will he or won't he have some kind of transformation, life changing experience? That is the question that keeps you hanging on till the end of the book. Engrossed I read this flat out in a couple of days. The encounters he has with fellow pilgrims are reminiscent of those I had myself on my own Camino and these are interposed with multiple interpretations of myth, the myths and legends along the way and the nature of myth itself. The interactions with people held my attention much more. Well did he have a revelation? You'll have to read it to find out for yourself. In conclusion an enjoyable and realistic account of the characters, many eccentric and as is true, with their own issues he met along the way.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C Wainwright on 20 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Easy read, but a lot lighter on myths and legends and a lot heavier on his walk (and particularly interaction with half a dozen or so other pilgrims) than I'd expected. As such I was slightly disappointed with the book, as it was the myths and legends side of it that I really wanted.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By dean on 29 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
while i found the delivery and service 100% i think the product description to be misleading, i found that the book was a heavy read which went more into the spirituality of the camino rather than the amusing myths and legends, which is what i really wanted to hear about as i find them interesting and would help me develop my own ideas about the camino, however i found the book to be more about the authors emotions and feelings rather than what the title and description say! if this is what you are looking for i would suggest it as the author does write in a great style, but the title is very misleading, such are the problems with internet shopping!!
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Format: Paperback
With the recent proliferation of pilgrims' stories on El Camino de Santiago (according to a book store owner in Madrid over 400 new titles between July 2009 and June 2010) Camino books have become almost formulaic, with 99% of the books written about the same route - the Camino Frances.
The landscape is obviously the same, the villages and towns the same, the conditions under which one walks and the traditions and the experiences are mostly the same. Only the main protagonist changes, so reading another Camino pilgrim's story can be like watching a familiar play: same sets, same props, same dialogue and same plot - just a different leading actor and supporting cast.
I have read over 20 books on the Camino pilgrimage, some riveting, some mediocre and many quite tiresome. Some books are merely vehicles for proselytising and others are full of angst and trauma. Thank god Robert Mullen's book was neither of these. This book reminded me of Robert Ward's "All the Good Pilgrims" as both focus on the people they meet and the relationships that develop between them on the road to Santiago and one can see why both have been described as `Chauceresque'. If you have walked a Camino (or two) you will recognize the characters in this book as most of us met up with an Albert or Angelika or were woken before dawn by the rustling of plastic packets.
If someone reading this book hopes to learn about the conditions or difficulties of the paths, they might be disappointed. Mullen is such a good walker that he pays scant regard to describing the actual trails between villages and towns. One of the most dreaded and torturous sections of the Camino Frances is the brutal, rocky trail that drops from 1504m at the Cruz de Ferro to 585m at Molinaseca in a mere 16 kilometres.
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