Timothy Findley's Pilgrim is the story of a man who can't die even though he tries over and over to kill himself. Diagnosed as schizophrenic, in 1912 he's placed in a Zurich clinic where Carl Gustav Jung is hard at work trying to determine the perimeter of the collective unconscious. For Jung, this man becomes an embodiment of the psyche's mystery. Claiming to have no past history but to have simply arrived one day at consciousness, Pilgrim lives in a limbo outside individuality and subjectivity. He's everyone and no one. Is he a messenger? Or is he a basket case? As the novel gathers momentum, we realise that Pilgrim is a character much like Virginia Woolf's Orlando, a witness traversing gender and time. Imagining conversations between Pilgrim and Henry James, Leonardo da Vinci, and Oscar Wilde, this novel is like a party full of beautiful guests. Or a safe train trip through an exotic landscape of consciousness where men use cologne that smells like "moss...lemons...ferns", and schizophrenics are elegant and well dressed, like the old countess who believes she lives on the moon and asks her doctor, "Is this a ballroom? Am I being courted?" --Emily White
Timothy Findley was born in Toronto in 1930. His first career was in the theatre; he was a charter company member of Ontario's Stratford Shakespearean Festival in 1953, and toured several European capitals.$$$In 1963, Findley turned to writing full-time and in 1977 his third novel, The Wars, won a Governor General's Award. It is now considered a Canadian classic. Following his bestsellers such as Famous Last Words, he won an Edgar Award for The Telling of Lies, while his collection of short stories, Stones, won Ontario's Trillium Award.$$$Findley's first work of non-fiction, Inside Memory: Pages from a Writer's Workbook, made him the first two-time winner of a Canadian Authors Association Award; he had earlier won its fiction counterpart for his novel, Not Wanted on the Voyage. He has also written plays, and his third, The Stillborn Lover (1993), won the CAA Drama Award, as well as winning an Arthur Ellis Award and Chalmers Award. His later novels include Headhunter (1993) and The Piano Man's Daughter (1995). His most recent play, Elizabeth Rex, was produced at the 2000 Stratford Festival in Canada.$$$Along with the likes of Michael Ondaatje and Margaret Atwood, Timothy Findley has become one of Canada's most acclaimed and best-selling authors. In 2000, Faber published Pilgrim and reissued The Wars and Famous Last Words. His last novel, Spadework, was published in 2002, the year in which Timothy Findley died. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I've got to be careful here, because I haven't yet finished this book but from where I'm at (three quarters through) the book's going nowhere fast. Read morePublished on 27 April 2009 by J. Burgess
Having read Findley's 'Spadework' and enjoyed it, I decided to try 'Pilgrim', which I knew would be totally different. Read morePublished on 7 Sept. 2003 by Gemma Kopel
This is an excellent novel. Its subject is original,and the writing is excellent. Once you begin reading it, you will find it difficult to put down. Read morePublished on 4 Mar. 2001