A Sense of Direction: Pilgimage for the Restless and the Hopeful
Gideon Lewis-Kraus arrived in free-spirited Berlin from San Francisco as a young writer in search of a place to enjoy life to the fullest, and to forget the pain his father, a gay rabbi, had caused his family when he came out in middle age and emotionally abandoned his sons. But Berlin offers only unfocused dissipation, frustration and anxiety; to find what he is looking for (though he’s not quite sure what it is), Gideon undertakes three separate ancient pilgrimages, travelling hundreds of miles: the thousand-year old Camino de Santiago in Spain with a friend, a solo circuit of eighty-eight Buddhist temples on the Japanese island of Shikoku, and finally, with his father and brother, a migration to the tomb of a famous Hassidic mystic in the Ukraine. It is on this last pilgrimage that Gideon reconnects with his father, and discovers that the most difficult and meaningful quest of all was the journey of his heart.
A beautifully written, throught-provoking, and very moving meditation on what gives our lives a sense of purpose, and how we travel between past and present in search of hope for our future.
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
The New Yorker
Here is one of the best and most brilliant young writers in America
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?
Charming and disarming… a wonderful exploration of the stories we tell ourselves
The New York Times Style Magazine