The Way of the Stars

The Way of the Stars

Journeys on the Camino De Santiago

Book - 2012
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Since medieval times, pilgrimages have been a popular religious or spiritual undertaking. Even today, between seventy and one hundred million people a year make pilgrimages, if not for expressly religious reasons, then for an alternative to secular goals and the preoccupation with consumption and entertainment characteristic of contemporary life. In The Way of the Stars, the journalist Robert Sibley, motivated at least in part by his own sense of discontent, recounts his walks on one of the most well-known pilgrimages in the Western world--the Camino de Santiago.

A medieval route that crosses northern Spain and leads to the town of Santiago de Compostela, the Camino has for hundreds of years provided for pilgrims the practice, the place, and the circumstances that allow for spiritual rejuvenation, reflection, and introspection. Sibley, who made the five-hundred-mile trek twice--initially on his own, and then eight years later with his son--offers a personal narrative not only of the outward journey of a pilgrim's experience on the road to Santiago but also of the inward journey afforded by an interlude of solitude and a respite from the daily demands of ordinary life. The month-long trip put the author on a path through his own memories, dreams, and self-perceptions as well as through the sights and sounds, the tastes and sensations, of the Camino itself.

Publisher: Charlottesville : University of Virginia Press, 2012
ISBN: 9780813933153
Characteristics: 170 p. ; 24 cm


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May 14, 2017

I had, for some while, wished to read something of The Camino de Santiago. Not a guide book, mind you, not a how-to, nor an expository work of facts and history, but an experiential account, something I might share with the author vicariously.

To paraphrase from the Epilogue, I was lucky. I stumbled onto Robert C. Sibley.

Never mind that he and I are men of like age, so that many of his references mirrored my own, giving me easy access to certain touchstones in his life. Never mind that I found myself immersed in his experience within the first several grafs of the Prologue, which produced an immediate sense of place and imagery which I find to be positively cinematic, indicative of a certain sorcery with language.

More than these, while telling me about the Camino, Sibley told me about himself, what he thought, what he felt, what happen in his heart, mind and soul, what changed, as well as what it's like for him now, as he reflects upon his pilgrimage, a most accurate description in every sense of the word.

For all that, I am grateful to Sibley, for the honesty of his intention, as well as the candid and revealing effect of his experience. I will never walk the Camino, and yet, I have. Bravo.

Swuzie_library Nov 12, 2013

2013 Ottawa Book Award Finalist for Non-fiction


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