make the most of Lovereading
Search our site
Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron Read the opening extract of the brand new Sophie Cameron book before its publication on 22/03/2018

A Sense of Direction Pilgrimage for the Restless and the Hopeful by Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Jon Gray

Lovereading view...

You could describe A Sense of Direction as the male Eat, Pray, Love, a restless American in search of something life-defining, the meaningful – the truth. He undertakes different forms of pilgrimage - the Camino de Santiago, Japanese Buddhist temples and the tomb of a Ukrainian mystic. On his journey he questions why people continue to undertake the ritual of pilgrimage, what it does for the human soul and how it helped him in a quest to mend a fractured relationship with his father.

Like for Like Reading

The Old Ways, Robert Macfarlane

Spanish Steps: Travels with My Donkey, Tim Moore


A Sense of Direction Pilgrimage for the Restless and the Hopeful by Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Jon Gray

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.' New Yorker

'Here is one of the best and most brilliant young writers in America' GQ

'Charming and disarming... a wonderful exploration of the stories we tell ourselves' The New York Times Style Magazine

'If David Foster Wallace had written Eat, Pray, Love it might have come close to approximating the adventures of Gideon Lewis-Kraus' Gary Shteyngart

'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?' Dave Eggers

'A young writer seeks a cure for his fecklessness by following roads very much taken in this scintillating travel memoir...' Publishers Weekly

'Physically, Lewis-Kraus feats are staggering, but more so is how fully and fluidly he recounts them, alongside meditation on his own youthful anxieties and a well-synthesized history of the act of pilgrimage' Booklist

'Nails our collective anxiety - every sentence rings true... Lewis-Kraus is a master' Daily Beast

'A deeply intelligent, often funny memoir about finding a sense of purpose through walking in the centuries-old footsteps of religious pilgrims. ... also a sensitive and nuanced coming-of-age memoir about fathers and sons, and about confronting the past in order to be free to move...into the future' Booklist

'Thought-provoking and engaging in the style of Bruce Chatwin or Paul Theroux, with ample sides of Thomas Menton and Augusten Burroughs' Kirkus

'This is a brilliant meditation on what the spiritual and fraternal and paternal and communal might mean to a person right now, fueled as it is by the funny, thorny, dreamy... truth-seeking voice of Gideon Lewis Kraus' Sam Lipsyte

'A thoughtful, honest meditation on religion, family and self from a secular and thoroughly contemporary pilgrim... Lewis-Kraus may well have written the perfect travel memoir' -- Bea Carvalho, Waterstones non-fiction buyer Bookseller

About the Author

Gideon Lewis-Kraus has written for numerous US publications, including Harper's, The Believer, The New York Times Book Review, Los Angeles Times Book Review, Slate, and others. A 2007-08 Fulbright scholarship brought him to Berlin, a hotbed of contemporary restlessness where he conceived this book. He now lives in New York, but continues to find himself frequently on the road to other places.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

13th February 2014


Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Jon Gray

More books by Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Jon Gray
Author 'Like for Like'


ONE an imprint of Pushkin Press


384 pages


Biography / Autobiography

Travel writing
Family & relationships



Ever purchased a book, read a few pages & thought I'm not going to enjoy this? Honest book reviews mean you'll never have that problem again

Jill Peters

If you LOVE reading then you will love LOVEREADING! It's a 'novel' idea. Seriously though I could not recommend them enough.

Rebecca Whymark

Lovereading is like booking a holiday, you don't know what it will be like and it is a whole new experience.

Sue Burton

Lovereading is a wonderful way to expand my literary horizons, discover inspiring authors & get the chance to read new novels first. #loveit

Zarina de Ruiter

Love books. Love reading. Love reading books. And, here's the trick. Here's a website which caters for people like me.

Ian Harvey-brown

I love reading books I wouldn't normally choose before everyone else gets to read them!

Dawn Lynch

I love reading because my cares & woes vanish for an hour or two whilst I read of the joys, adventures, lives of the characters in the book.

Jennifer Moville

Discover new authors and enjoy old favourites; oodles of literary gems to uncover at Lovereading with candid reviews from real reviewers.

Emily Wright