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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

3.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Length: 353 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: 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: 1276 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1594487251
  • 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
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #317,530 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

Top customer reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I did not find that it was well written and I found that his reflections on his pilgrimages were superficial. This might be because he is realativey young and did 3 journeys from 3 different religious traditions, perhaps too much too fast. The aim of all of these journeys seemed to be to sort out his problem with his dad, which of course was not resolved. He doesn't seem to have moved from his esssentially ego centric position in spite of all this effort. It's a shame. A few years with a good analyst might help.
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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: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading the report of pilgrimages but found the first part really boring and too long. Worth reading the whole book.
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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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