Walking The Camino

Although I enjoyed reading this book, there is something both evasive and elusive about it. Reading between the lines, I sense that the author has money which she spends on “better” accommodation, staying in alberques only a few times, perhaps to give the book some authenticity, as the diary of a pilgrimage, from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela.

Even though the author has a master’s degree in creative non-ficton, I found her writing somewhat indirect and inconclusive. Often I was left wondering, “what was she trying to say.” Maryanna is walking the Camino to resolve some issues in her life, mainly her relationship with her grandfather, her mother and her daughters. Nothing though is clearly stated or resolved.

The people the author meets along the way are interesting and she enjoys their company. She does suffer from the extreme heat, walking in early Fall, although much of that is eased by the fact that she has her pack sent forward and all her accommodation has been pre-booked. I found, however, there is little sense of the spiritual nature of the walk and there are few epiphanies, although Maryanna does meet a number of angels along the way.

The proportions of the book are “out of sync” as well. The first 25% of the book is spent describing her life on Salt Spring Island, before she even sets out for the Camino. The last 100kms of the Camino are a blur. It’s as though the author can’t wait to get home. I loved the books where the authors hated to leave.

If you have the time and are enjoying the Camino vicariously through other people’s writing then this book is a good addition to your list. However, if you are short of time, I would give this one a miss.

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