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Fumbling: A Pilgrimage Tale of Love, Grief,…
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Fumbling: A Pilgrimage Tale of Love, Grief, and Spiritual Renewal on the…

by Kerry Egan

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A lovely read of one woman's pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago as she struggled with her (dis)belief in God (taking a break from working on a divinity masters from Harvard) after her father's death. During the physical toil of walking eight to ten hours a day under the hot sun with her sometimes irritating boyfriend, she comes to find that grief is a form of prayer and that one can learn to live in the present when you let go of trying to control the past.

My second Camino de Santiago memoir in as many months . . . makes me want to step out of my own familiar rhythms to seek answers in an unfamiliar country and activity. ( )
  Micalhut | Aug 20, 2013 |
When you write a travel book, you can either (Type A) know up front that you are headed off on a trip where you will write about your adventures, necessitating the having of adventures and/or the elaboration of adventures OR(Type B) You can set off on a trip, have some amazing adventures, and then talk a publisher into letting you write a book about what happened, though you may have forgotten (i.e., have to make up) many details.This book strikes me as Type A. Egan decided to take a trip to mourn the death of her father and write a book as she traveled. Nothing much happened. If you cut out all the spliced in essays on pilgrimages and saints and grieving, the book would be about ten pages. I liked this book just fine, but I'd been hoping for a transformational read, and it never felt like that to me. Instead, I kept wanting to shout, "Filler!" every time Egan ventured off the Camino into one tangent or another. ( )
1 vote debnance | Jan 29, 2010 |
One of the least informative or interesting books that I have read on the Camino de Santiago. ( )
  moonbeam13 | Nov 20, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385507658, Hardcover)

In the spirit of Kathleen Norris and Anne Lamott, Kerry Egan describes her journey from grief to faith in this candid, spiritually profound account of her pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, the medieval pilgrim route through Northern Spain.

Kerry Egan, a student at Harvard Divinity School, became a pilgrim at the age of twenty-five, a year after the death of her father. Watching her father die had shattered the image of God Egan grew up with and undermined the theology she studied in school; she embarked on her pilgrimage full of hope and dread at the same time.

Fumbling is the moving journal of Egan’s experiences as she and her boyfriend traveled from the Pyrenees in southern France through the valleys of Navarra and westward through Spain to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, said to contain the remains of Saint James. The idea of pilgrimage rests on the belief that in some places the Divine is especially available to human beings and that the journey itself—the time spent as a pilgrim—is transformative, cleansing, and purifying. Egan was well versed in theories about grieving and the purpose of a pilgrimage, but it was through walking eight or ten hours a day that she first began to understand what grief really was and to recognize God’s presence in everyday people and places.

With humor and unabashed honesty, Egan records her struggles to deal with muddy roads, blistering heat, and grouchy moods. She describes fellow pilgrims of many nationalities, the humble abodes that provide them shelter, and the beautiful, often challenging, landscape. Each incident, encounter, and hard-won mile shapes her internal journey. The repetitiveness of walking frees her to meditate for long periods, the rhythm of her breathing awakens an awareness of the connections of breath, life, and God so central to the teachings of Hebrew and Christian scriptures, and the most unlikely events—from discovering chickens in church to the pleasure of having a pizza at a train station—remind her that prayer is as at once as simple and as profound as seeing and acknowledging the joys and beauty of life.

A story of overcoming anger and sadness and finding joy and redemption, Fumbling illuminates the power of grief to enhance our relationship with God.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:51 -0400)

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