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richardderus

Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud

A Sense of Direction: Pilgrimage for the Restless and the Hopeful - Gideon Lewis-Kraus Rating: 3.8* of fiveThe Book Description: In medieval times, a pilgrimage gave the average Joe his only break from the daily grind. For Gideon Lewis-Kraus, it promises a different kind of escape. Determined to avoid the kind of constraint that kept his father, a gay rabbi, closeted until midlife, he has moved to anything-goes Berlin. But the surfeit of freedom there has begun to paralyze him, and when a friend extends a drunken invitation to join him on an ancient pilgrimage route across Spain, he grabs his sneakers, glad of the chance to be committed to something and someone. Irreverent, moving, hilarious, and thought-provoking, A Sense of Direction is Lewis-Kraus's dazzling riff on the perpetual war between discipline and desire, and its attendant casualties. Across three pilgrimages and many hundreds of miles - the thousand-year-old Camino de Santiago, a solo circuit of eighty-eight Buddhist temples on the Japanese island of Shikoku, and, together with his father and brother, an annual mass migration to the tomb of a famous Hasidic mystic in the Ukraine - he completes an idiosyncratic odyssey to the heart of a family mystery and a human dilemma: How do we come to terms with what has been and what is - and find a way forward, with purpose?My Review: Another year-old LibraryThing Early Reviewers win, what the hell happened to me last year? Did I have a stroke and forget stuff? Damn. I hate that I didn't write these reviews on time.This is a book by a David Foster Wallace-readin' straight twentysomething son of a gay father whose selfish and self-absorbed life erupts after he goes on the Sacred Road pilgrimage in Spain. He then goes on a Buddhist pilgrimage in Japan...alone...speaking no Japanese. What could go wrong? ::eyeroll:: And then, after Pilgrimania has fully gripped him, his pop and he (plus an ignorable sibling) go on some Hasidic hoo-rah that really sets the ducks in the shootin' gallery.Target rich environment! Set phasers on devastate, Mr. Sulu, we're gonna skewer this kid!!And, well, maybe I could and perhaps I should, but for all the whingeing whiney crap, the kid writes from whatever soul he has and he is honest. Sometimes to a fault. I get it, I get it, Dad coming out when you were at a delicate age had some troublesome aspects for you. But despite the fact that we dwell in Gideon's overprivileged head, we do so with a very witty host. He makes funny lines, but you know something weird? They aren't funny outside the book. Can't quote 'em. He's good for a grin, though.I enjoyed reading this book, and I think it will be a good first book for his CV. Don't sprain anything running out to get one.