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3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  2,155 ratings  ·  162 reviews
On April 15, 1912--ironically the very date on which more than a thousand people lost their lives as the Titanic sank--a figure known only as Pilgrim tries to commit suicide by hanging himself from a tree. When he is found five hours later, his heart miraculously begins beating again. This isn't his first attempt to end his life, and it is decided that steps must be taken ...more
Paperback, 538 pages
Published by Harper Perennial (first published 1999)
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Community Reviews

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Jennifer (aka EM)
Excellent! A great blend of fiction and history, re-imagined through the eyes of one of my very favourite story-tellers.

Reincarnation (?) meets Jung's collective unconscious. With Leonardo (da Vinci, not diCaprio - it's not THAT book), Oscar Wilde, William & Henry James. Art and religion clash and coalesce. Doves, pigeons, sheep, dogs <3 and angels; unwilling saints and saintly lunatics. The sacred nature of nature. The transcendent, innate spirituality of art. Dreams, myth, madness, myst
I really, really enjoyed this book. Any story that can combine historical fiction, fantasy, and psychology successfully is thumbs up for me. I loved being able to read about DaVinci, Henry James, and then jump to Carl Jung working with an "immortal" in an asylum.

Awesome book.
I'd been wanting to reread this, one of my favourite pieces of fiction, after seeing a local production of Tom Stoppard's play Travesties last month. Both stories take place primarily in Zürich before and during World War I and involve figures who, while fictionalized for the present purposes, did exist (James Joyce, Lenin and Tristan Tzara in Travesties, and Carl Jung and various staff members at the Burghölzli psychiatric clinic, Oscar Wilde, Leonardo da Vinci and others in Pilgrim). There's s ...more
I knew canadian writer Timothy Findley from his excellent novel "Not wanted on voyage" so was naturally excited to lay my hands on "Pilgrim".
Than to my biggest surprise, I realized it all sounds familiar and I had probably read it years ago (wouldn't be surprised to actually find that I have another copy somewhere) but the writing style and the story was so beautiful that I truly enjoyed and upon finishing the last page I was so moved that I could just start reading it all over again. "Pilgrim"
The book was unnecessarily long (published authors tend to be out of control when it comes to lengths of their subsequent works. or so it seems)

interesting passages:

- take on music from an apathetic person.

"music is the worst of them - roiling and boiling - overly emotionalized on the one hand, overly intellectuallized on the other. Bach and Mozart indeed! Bach inevitably makes me think of fish in a barrel! round and round and round they go and nothing ever happens. Nothing ! Tum -de-dum-dum. Tu
Nel giorno degli angeli caduti Pilgrim viene accompagnato da Lady Quartermaine alla clinica Burghölzli. Un lungo viaggio da Londra a Zurigo quello del misterioso uomo che vuole ma non può morire, ed un ancor più lungo percorso nella mente, nei sogni, nelle visioni, nell’essere, non solo di quest’uomo tenace ed elegante, ma di ogni personaggio che popola questo corposo romanzo di Timothy Findley, costruito sull’alternanza del vero, del verosimile e dell’invenzione, legati da un sottile filo, quas ...more
I don't know what to make of this book. Parts of it are excellent (a main character who can't die and who has lived for centuries, a look at early twentieth-century attitudes towards mental health, etc.) and parts of it are really self-indulgent. There are also a lot of loose ends that are never addressed. So I'm splitting the difference and giving it three stars.

Also, it's a pet peeve of mine that people in historical fiction books almost always happen to run into the most significant figures o
a lyrical, mystical journey. walking through a dream, a never ending path to eternity (or in this case to end eternity once and for all) oh, but such beauty in one's search for death! mr findley you are a find!
I really did not like this. It went on way too long and didn't really deal enough with Pilgrim enough directly to keep me engaged. Reading about Jung was okay I guess but that wasn't what I came for.
Prose was superb! Pacing was kind of okay. And characterization?>- I could not believe he pulled this through with ease.

This is one book to feast on! You won't be disappointed!
The book goes a bit long, but is an interesting concept and has some truly interesting glimpses into history.
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I like Timothy Findley, but he must be the most eclectic author I’ve ever read. I first came across him in highschool with The Wars, a novel that observes soldiers in the First World War and which, frankly, I don’t really remember because I was obligated to read it for a class. I later read Findley’s Not Wanted on the Voyage, which was a bizarre and irreligious take on the events surrounding the biblical Noah and his ark. I didn’t enjoy that one. I did love The Piano Man’s Daughter, a beautiful ...more
Dakota Bragdon
Pilgrim was a great book, and is one of my favorites. Set in 1912 Germany, it's about a man simply named Pilgrim, who can never die, and has tried several times to kill himself, each time he has failed. He is taken to Burgholzi Psychiatric Clinc in Zurich, and is treated by Carl G. Jung (the famous doctor who transformed the field of pyschology).
This book is very interesting because it is about the bonding relationship between a patient and a doctor back when you really didn't know your doctor,
Philippe Escaffre
'La main sur la poignée, Jung se retourna vers la silhouette assise au soleil. "J'ai eu un rêve la nuit dernière, déclara-t-il. Ou plutôt un cauchemar. J'ai rêvé que le monde entier prenait feu et que personne n'était capable d'empêcher les flammes de se propager...". Pilgrim contemplait celle de ses mains qui serrait le mouchoir. Si vous compreniez le caractère prophétique de votre rêve, pensa-t-il, personne ne vous croirait vous non plus... "C'était plus terrifiant que tout. Un véritable enfer ...more
Е, завърших я! Може би такава книга не бива да се подхваща, когато човек започва нова работа, изцеждаща силите му за дълго и сладко вечерно четене. Но пък и бавното вкусване на това, което книгата имаше да ми предложи, имаше своя чар. Историята ме грабна с факта, че голяма част от нея е базирана на реални личности и събития. Успя да издуха доста от малките блестяши частички на златния облак, с който бях обгърнала в студентските си години образа на Карл Густав Юнг. Не знаех много за личния му жив ...more
- Findley is an excellent writer, but this book deals with many, many hefty themes: mental illness, the nature of art, spirituality and the divine, homosexuality, the afterlife, mediums, psychology, etc...As always, this novel is riddled with Findley's creative, though sometimes macabre imagination.
- My main issue with the novel was from a narrative perspective...the story felt very disjointed at times; I suppose that was the author's choice to structure his narrative in that way...also, there w
Michael Christopher
The care and focus given by the author to crafting the settings of this book is impressive. Told from the point of view of a man who is either immortal or insane, the reader is shown the inner workings of the man's mind and dropped into his recollections of his life in other places and times. Those recollections are realised in sharp detail, and contrasted with the narrow field of view of the psychiatrists who ultimately fail to connect to the people whom they are attempting to help. Fed up with ...more
Красиво написана книга. Необикновена история. Теми, които са ми любими. Теми, които са ми болезнени – заигравката с времето, враждуването и танцуването с него винаги са били неразделна част от личните ми търсения.

И все пак – през дните, в които четях, имаше нещо, трудно определимо, което не ми позволи да се влюбя изцяло. Сякаш прожектирах в главата си изпипан холивудски филм. Прекрасни декори, отбор прочути личности, необходимата доза мистерия, дълбочина, смисъл, трагегия, меланхолия. Всичко –
Susan Dehn Matthews
Historical novel? Memoir? Perhaps both. Pilgrim takes the reader to worlds real and imagined, to the realms of the collective unconscious and the mystical. Another layer of depth exists if the reader has traveled to Paris, Florence, London, or Zurich, for the plot will conjure new renderings of venues recalled because they have been visited. As if the veil of time has been lifted and the distance of time erased, the reader is allowed to marvel at having walked the same streets and taken in the s ...more
Daniel Kukwa
Carl Jung, immortals, angels, and psycho-analysis...they don't sound like the ingredients of a sane novel. Thankfully, sane novels are boring...and Timothy Findley's ultimate masterpiece will make you question your OWN sanity. A stunning book that will leave your mouth hanging open in sheer astonishment on more than one occasion.
One of my favourite books on the planet. If you are a lover of psychology, specifically Carl Jung, this book is a must-read. Pilgrim travels through history, and winds up in a psychiatric ward over-seen by Jung. Findlay portrays Jung as complex a character as his patients. Absolutely fascinating.
I did enjoy this book a lot especially the pilgrim and sybil characters and scenes in the hospital, other parts were less compelling so I couldn't give it four stars. Jung and his married life and stream of consciousness took away from the core story as opposed to augmented.
I had originally marked this a 4-star. I have now changed it to a 5-star rating because I can't stop thinking about it. All throughout today my thoughts kept drifting to various pages in the book which made me realize I liked it better then I thought:o)
This book is one of the most bizarre, complex, and incredibly depressing books I have ever read. It is so complicated that there is no succinct way of describing the story so I will not try. While I can appreciate the skilled writing of Timothy Findley I cannot say that I would recommend this book. I read it since my son in Grade 11 was having to do a comparative essay using it and he was struggling incredibly. To assist him, I read the book and I could totally understand why he was struggling. ...more
Mary E. Martin
What does it mean when you feel compelled to read a novel for the fourth time over a space of a number of years?

I’m thinking of Pilgrim by Timothy Findley. I read somewhere that great art repays the revisiting. I think this means that you are compelled to return to a story many times because you just know you will find something new and different each time you reread it. That’s exactly the way I feel about this novel—that I will find something I hadn’t found before—something integral and importa
Although this falls under the genre of fantasy for me which I normally eschew, Findley’s coolly observant voice lent itself well to balancing his dramatic flights of imagination and forays into the psychological forest of the minds of his characters and he superbly blended these into his compelling book, “Pilgrim.” It was not difficult to digest Carl Jung as a character because Findley’s research of Jung was quite well done; however, the whole part of Leonardo Da Vinci and Elisabetta del Gioc ...more
Mary E. Martin
May 16, 2014 Mary E. Martin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Canadian literature, Carl Jung and the psyche.
What does it mean when you are compelled to read a novel for the fourth time? I don’t mean one time after another, but over a space of a number of years?

I’m thinking of Pilgrim by Timothy Findley. I read somewhere that great art repays the revisiting. I think this means that you are compelled to return to a story many times because you somehow know that you will find something new and different each time you reread it. That’s exactly the way I feel about this novel—that I will find something I h
Gail Gray
Pilgrim by Timothy Findley. What a beguiling tale. Findley has a lot more confidence than I'll ever have. He actually features Jung as one of the main characters! What fun it is, even as it's a lesson in personal hopes, failures, regressions, and ultimate growth. I would love to be in therapy with y Jung even more now, as Findley presents the young psychiatrist as a complex character, at times earthy and peasant like, at others full of compassion and then also as the abstract mystical thinker co ...more
What a maddening book. Pilgrim is a roller coaster ride containing short chapters, some only one page, a sprinkling of historical characters (urgh), Carl Jung, immortality, insanity, humanity and ultimately death. Above all the desire for death, the profound sleep, the needed end.

What an infuriatingly lovely and splendid book.

I needed a meter as I read. At certain points I swore I'd give this book a two. Then a one, especially when Jung conducts endless internal arguments with what he terms his
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some minor faults 1 26 Sep 18, 2009 12:58PM  
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Timothy Irving Frederick Findley was a Canadian novelist and playwright. He was also informally known by the nickname Tiff or Tiffy, an acronym of his initials.
More about Timothy Findley...
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“I have dreamt of a life you will never know; the life of a loving and caring companion. I simply thought you should know. I see that you are in trouble. I watch and listen to you. I want to help, but you won't let me. So be it. I love you still. Do what you will, I shall watch over you.” 4 likes
“Има хора, чието преживяване на живота е толкова различно от нашето собствено, че ги наричаме луди. За чисто удобство. Наричаме ги така, за да се освободим от поемането на отговорност за тяхното място в човешката общност. И затова ги изпращаме в приюти, затваряме ги, за да не се виждат и чуват, зад заключени врати. Но за тях няма разлика между това, което ние смятаме за сънища и кошмари, и света, в който протича всекидневният им живот... Според тях може да има святост в дървета и жаби, живи богове в огъня и водата и глас във вихрушката, към който, ако само се вслушаме, те ще насочат вниманието ни... Те не живеят в “други светове”, а в едно измерение на този свят, което ние от страх отказваме да приемем.” 2 likes
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