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A Sense of Direction: Pilgrimage for the Restless and the Hopeful by [Lewis-Kraus, Gideon]
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A Sense of Direction: Pilgrimage for the Restless and the Hopeful Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Length: 385 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Product Description


Here is one of the best and most brilliant young writers in America (GQ)

Beautiful, often very funny... a story that is both searching and purposeful, one that forces the reader, like the pilgrim, to value the journey as much as the destination. (New Yorker)

Charming and disarming... a wonderful exploration of the stories we tell ourselves (The New York Times Style Magazine)

If David Foster Wallace had written Eat, Pray, Love it might have come close to approximating the adventures of Gideon Lewis-Kraus (Gary Shteyngart)

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)

A young writer seeks a cure for his fecklessness by following roads very much taken in this scintillating travel memoir... (Publishers Weekly)

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)

A deeply intelligent, often funny memoir about finding a sense of purpose through walking in the centuries-old footsteps of religious pilgrims. ... also a sensitive and nuanced coming-of-age memoir about fathers and sons, and about confronting the past in order to be free to move...into the future (Booklist)

Nails our collective anxiety - every sentence rings true... Lewis-Kraus is a master (Daily Beast)

Filled with wit, insight and hilarity (Colm Tóibín Guardian)

Thought-provoking and engaging in the style of Bruce Chatwin or Paul Theroux, with ample sides of Thomas Menton and Augusten Burroughs (Kirkus)

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... truth-seeking voice of Gideon Lewis Kraus (Sam Lipsyte)

A thoughtful, honest meditation on religion, family and self from a secular and thoroughly contemporary pilgrim... Lewis-Kraus may well have written the perfect travel memoir (Bea Carvalho, Waterstones non-fiction buyer Bookseller)

His ear for dialogue is sharp and funny, his observations of others are astute without being cruel, his anxieties genuinely endearing... A Sense of Direction is a brave, honest work of self-reckoning (Rebecca Abrams Financial Times)

A quirky, funny and ultimately moving account of a twenty-something man seeking purpose, order and acceptance... A Sense of Direction is more than a travel memoir and account of pilgrimage, it is a meditation on family, forgiveness and acceptance (Jade Craddock We Love This Book)

Captures beautifully the seductive appeal of [Berlin's] Lotus-eating demi-monde (Arthur House Telegraph)

Lewis-Kraus's sharp, reflexive insights on pilgrimage and its endurance among the secular, dovetail into a compelling family drama (New Statesman)

About the Author

Gideon Lewis-Kraus has written for numerous US publications, including Harper's,The Believer, The New York Times Book Review, Los Angeles Times Book Review, Slate and others. A 2007-08 Fulbright scholarship brought him to Berlin, a hotbed of contemporary restlessness where he conceived this book. He now lives in New York, but continues to find himself frequently on the road to other places.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 943 KB
  • Print Length: 385 pages
  • Publisher: ONE (13 Feb. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00H6V0E3Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #291,937 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Gideon Lewis-Kraus' memoir is rich in humanity, humor and a zest for life. "A Sense of Direction: Pilgrimage for the Restless and the Hopeful" takes us from an anything-goes lifestyle of parties and booze in Berlin to the physical endurance and mental fortitude required to do three pilgrimages and many hundreds of miles in Spain, Japan and the Ukraine. The first was Spain's thousand-year-old Camino de Santiago with a friend, the second a solo circuit of Japan's eighty-eight Buddhist temples on the island of Shikoku and the third the annual mass migration to the tomb of a famous Hasidic mystic in the Ukraine with his father and brother.
It's also a story of pain, promise and forgiveness. Much of it Gideon's desire to avoid the kind of constraint that kept his father, a gay rabbi, closeted until midlife.
Gideon's insightful book is also thought-provoking. He saw Spain's Santiago pilgrimage as Christian as the trail is a strait line and it's about the future. The devout walk it to get-out-of-purgatory. The Buddhist trail is a circle around the Shikoku and it's about the present. The Jewish pilgrimage is a dot in the middle of the Old World and it's about the past. He said, the first was about finding a sense of direction, the second about returning to where he started and the third about knowing where he stood. He also observed how the pilgrimage helped him pay attention to the low-level distress and indignity of people he was not all that keen on. It became clear to him that forgiveness has to come first because part of that gesture is reconciling himself that there's never going to be any real, satisfying redress.
"A Sense of Direction" is not only Gideons story, but our story. It's an epic inner and outer odyssey into coming to terms with what has been, what is and how to move forward.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A tad self indulgent really. Useful as background material for these two walks, but other than that, I wouldn't put much store by it if you want a 'spirituality' of the walk, very Generation Y in fact.
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Format: Hardcover
One of the best examples of travel memoir which I have read over the last few years, Gideon Lewis-Kraus's "A Sense of Direction" is a fine literary debut that ranks alongside great travel memoirs like Susan Gilman's "Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven". Hoping to escape a most banal existence as a young American expatriate living in Berlin, Gideon teams up with a friend on a series of treks across Europe, starting with their epic journey retracing the route of an old Roman road in Spain. These are journeys not just through the physical landscapes of Europe, but also those within Gideon's soul, as he learns how to deal effectively with the yin and yang of desire and discipline. Told strictly from a first-person account in compelling, often elegant, prose, "A Sense of Direction" will be most uplifting to those interested in reading it. Its underlying message of a young man seeking to make some sense out of his life is one surely to resonate with many readers who will be enthralled with Gideon's brilliant, witty and often humorous account. Without a doubt, "A Sense of Direction" is a notable memoir worthy of the favorable praise it has earned from the likes of Gary Shteyngart, Dave Eggers and Sam Lipsyte.
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