A lovely book which I highly recommend to anyone interested in religion / spirituality that is "off the beaten track". However it is not what I would describe as "New Age", even though there are two chapters on modern paganism. The book is a personal reflection on spiritual life in Britain today, deliberately subjective rather than objective. There are no statistics on church attendance for example. Rather it is a series of encounters with people treading alternative paths outside the mainstream churches, mosques and temples of modern Britain. We meet Catholic monastics, Protestant new-monastics, solitaries, Sufis, and the afore-mentioned pagans. The author's reflections are skilfully woven into her own life story and spiritual journey. I was left with a sense that I knew both the author and the people she meets at quite a deep level.
To me, byways and roads less travelled are always more inviting than wide, worn roads, so it was fascinating to be led along these lesser known spiritual paths. The book is more than reportage as the author's own path interweaves with her subjects', engaging the reader at a human level. As with any form of exploration there are enjoyable elements of serendipity and surprise in what she finds and how she reacts. An unusual, engrossing and enlightening read.
I really loved this book. The author invites you through that gate to walk with her on an exploration of belief and experience in Britain today. What resonate throughout her travels are the conversations she has with the individuals she meets - either in religious establishments, or their own homes. They are incisive and probing, whilst also being gently inquisitive. She holds the people she meets in both positive, and humorous, regard. By the end I felt I had seen into the hearts of individuals engaging, not always easily, with their religious and spiritual paths, and in so doing had looked into my own. As well as being enquiring, it is also - in descriptive episodes of her own life - intensely personal and frank. I highly recommend this book: it surprised, delighted and informed me.
A wonderful journey around the edges of Anglican Britain written with great style, delightful irony and loving kindness towards the sometimes oddball and sad folk the author meets along the way. A genuinely good read and though 'unputdownable' may be a cliche (and one very rarely used by someone with as low a boredom threshold as me) it happens to be completely true. Sometimes there could have been more enlivening descriptions of place and character (via telling details of clothing, physical appearance, voice) without slowing the pace, but it's a marginal thing. Truly, a real gem of a book.
Recommended on a whim by friends, I have been bowled over by this book ... and read it in 2 sittings (so missing a lot of sleep.) The questing & gentle questioning drives the narrative on, but subtly & lovingly. Anyone with any spiritual sensitivity and the ability to self-reflect at all will find something in this that resonates with their own experiences or desires in the midst of contemporary Brit society. It is not an unrealistic yearning for an idyllic (rural) past, nor a surrender to the instant & potential overload of the 21st century. Rather it is a wonderful guide into how to recognise & discover God and the deep spiritual longings of the human heart at this present time. I will be buying copies for friends this Christmas ... from me, there can be no higher recommendation!
A delightful and thoughtfully compelling read. Alex Klaushofer asks courageous questions about the nature and practice of faith in modern Britain, and puts answers to the test through a year's pilgrimage and meetings with remarkable people. I very much enjoyed the vignettes of those whom she interviewed, and the reflective evaluative distance brought to the conversations, which never detracted from the sincerity of her explorations. At times philosophical, and undoubtedly well-informed, the writing ranges from wrestling with abstract knotty issues to moments of intense and vivid simplicity that lift the heart. I really felt that I was coming to know the author intimately as she shared the private reflections that probably all of us have from time to time, but rarely have the opportunity to pursue to their logical outcome. There have been many spiritual odysseys in the past, and this one set in the present day and asking questions relevant to how we live today is a first-rate addition to that list.
This book is a delight - enchanting and inspiring, exciting as a novel, and beautifully written. I can't remember when I've been so glued to a book. I downloaded the Amazon edition, and Susan shared it on her own Kindle - we were reading neck and neck, continually comparing notes as to where the author had reached on her journey, and our own reactions...
Alex Klaushofer travels the less-known paths of Britain's spiritual life, finding tentative, patient answers to those questions that never seem to be asked, but which one longs to inquire after. Driven by a restless faith and her own loving curiosity, she takes us on a path of wonder and illumination where her sense of the divine in everyone she meets is equalled by her courage in facing the questions their own lives in turn ask of hers.
Do read this unforgettable, endearing book. Klaushofer is the best kind of guide - a friend and companion for one's own inward discoveries, as much as the chronicler of her own and those of the wise and fascinating people she encounters on her way.