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Arkie's Pilgrimage to the Next Big Thing

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  93 ratings  ·  31 reviews
A delightfully funny and inspiring novel about a very modern pilgrimage, and one woman's chance to rediscover what she's lost.

'I watch the highway go by and ponder my situation. I am on the run from my husband's divorce lawyer, my mojo is still missing in action and my demon ex-lover is lurking . . . But, all things considered, my pilgrimage is going well . . .'

Arkie used
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 2nd 2015 by Random House Australia (first published January 1st 2015)
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3.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  93 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

A quirky tale with a hint of magical realism, Lisa Walker's third novel, 'Arkie's Pilgrimage to the Next Big Thing' is the story of one woman's search for all the things she has lost....including herself.

“I am forty-one years old but perhaps it is possible … Can my life begin again?”

A year ago, Arkie Douglas's life fell apart. Her husband left her when Arkie confessed to an affair, and shortly after her business failed, her trend forecasting mojo having deserted her. It's New Year's Eve and Arki
Bruce Gargoyle
DNF'd at 13%

Admittedly, I normally push on until at least 25% before I call a book quits, and it seems particularly unAustralian to post a negative review on Australia Day weekend, but here we are.

The main reason I put this book down is that I found the characters to be immediately two-dimensional and stereotyped. Haruko had promise, but I found it mildly off-putting that the author felt the need to make her Japanese, thus immediately rendering her as a quirky, sweet, fashion-forward, broken-Eng
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
*3.5 stars
A spiritual pilgrimage of self discovery, combined with a tour of the east coast of Australia’s big tourist icons, is the story behind Arkie’s Pilgrimage to the Next Big Thing. This is the third novel published by Australian author Lisa Walker but the first I have read by this author.
At the centre of Arkie’s Pilgrimage to the Next Best Thing is flawed protagonist Arkie. She is a forty something woman who simultaneously experiences crisis in her marriage and career. Arkie feels the wor
Debra Tidball
Jul 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I won this book and I'm glad I did because it wouldn't have chosen it myself, perhaps thinking it a bit too light and fluffy, however the tale of Arkie who's lost her trendspotting mojo and her Japanese travelling companion Haruko slowly crept up on me until I was hooked. The 'fluff' turned out to be whimsy and the lightness of touch camouflaged moments of real depth and insight.

The characterisation is deftly realised. Unlike Haruko, first person narrator, Arkie, is not immediately likeable howe
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
Lisa Walker invents her own style of surrealism (“I think surrealism is a ‘make your own fun’ kind of art form’ – Lisa Walker) in her latest novel. She brings together a pseudo Japanese ‘wanna’ be pilgrimage and evolves it into an adventure of discovery to some of Australia’s ‘big things’ (Big Pineapple, Big Cow, Big Macadamia, Big Shell, Big Redback Spider, to name but a few). Add in a twist of referencing to ‘The Wizard of Oz’ for good measure and the result is surrealism for sure!

Full review
Bree T
It’s been a year since Arkie Douglas’s husband left her and her business crumbled. She fled Sydney for Byron Bay and now she’s waiting for the train to go through with the intention of throwing herself under it. For a while she’s alone but then a young Japanese girl named Haruko turns up. After some time there together, they discover that the trains stopped going through Byron Bay well over ten years ago. By then Arkie no longer wants to throw herself beneath one and she hires Haruko almost imme ...more
Julie McAliece
Jul 21, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a very entertaining book. As I was reading it, I found similarities that I had with the character - for example, I have all the little Japanese gods that she took with her.
I thoroughly enjoyed this easy read.
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
quirky little aussie book...i really liked it
May 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club
This was OK. I kind of read it because I have to for my book club, otherwise I would probably never have picked it up. I did enjoy the way it ended though.
Karen O'Brien-Hall
Jan 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Arkie Douglas is sitting on the railway station waiting for the train under which she will commit suicide. It is 31 December, but Arkie has no intention of seeing in the New Year.

Obviously, life is not good for Arkie. Her husband’s lawyer, Fabian, is chasing her to serve divorce papers; okay so what if Arkie had an affair? Her wonderful and amazing mojo walked out with her lover Ben, taking with it her career as a trendspotter, a predictor of “the Next Big Thing”. Why was she the only one who s
Sarah Fairbairn
Jan 21, 2015 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: aww-2015
Although billed as "the" party night of the year, New Year's Eve can be a depressing occasion for many people. For Arkie the close of 2014 is so dismal she spends it on a railway platform with every intention of leaping in front of the next train. Fortunately for her trains no longer run to Byron Bay and instead Arkie finds herself in the company of a quirky young Japanese woman who steers her life in a completely unexpected direction - a pilgrimage to all of Australia's "Big" things.

I really li
This isn’t the sort of book I’d usually read. It’s embarrassing to admit, but it was really the pretty cover that drew me in and I was pleasantly surprised. Arkie’s Pilgrimage to the Next Big Thing was enjoyable, if somewhat wild, and the perfect summer read.

Arkie and new friend Haruko are on a pilgrimage, both literal and figurative, to the next Big Thing. But when they reach the sad husks of booming tourist traps past, a little imagination is required to see their true beauty. I loved the idea
Charming Language
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Rumour has it that pilgrimage narratives are the next big thing. Following on from Eat Pray Love, and with Wild fresh in our memories, Arkie’s Pilgrimage To The Next Big Thing is another example of the ‘finding yourself’ novel. The book’s protagonist, Arkie, is a 40-something woman, recently separated from both her husband and her career. A strange set of circumstances sets her off on a road trip, from which she emerges with a fresh perspective and redefined ambitions.

Australian readers (especi
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Like everything in life, the timing of this book was perfect!

When Arkie ponders, "The world seems deeply mysterious to me in a way it isn't to others. A crow at outside my window, a dog following me home, a dream of a shipwreck, any of these things can set my mind off on a tangent from which it amy take some time to return." I recognise my own magical way of seeing significance as well as the horror story so many people live day to day.

I recognise the story inside people's heads proclaiming this
Feb 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a funny and inspiring story of Arkie a 40 something Australian woman in the midst of a divorce and on a mission to get her mojo and her life back.

Arkie befriends a Japanese girl Haruko and together they go on a modern day pilgrimage around Australia's big things, as a twist to the traditional pilgrimages throughout Japan.

This is an upbeat and interesting read, especially for those interested in travelling Australia and it's big things .... The Big Pineapple, The Big Banana, The Big Praw
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
A 'surrealist novel' about a woman starting to search new ways for restarting her life. The story begins with Arkie, the main character, standing on the platform of a station and planing to jump in front of the train when it arrives. But then she meets a mysterious Japanese woman who starts telling her about Japanese New Year traditions and pilgrimages made in order to purify oneself and to chase away the demons of one's past. She will push Arkie to make her own quirky pilgrimage, right there in ...more
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Arkie is a trendsetter, predicting the 'next big thing', until she loses her lover, her husband and her predicting mojo. After meeting a quirky Japanese girl Haruko, who also has a flair for trendsetting and an uber-efficient way of packing a carry-on bag, Arkie embarks on a journey of self discovery, a pilgrimage of sorts, visiting Australian tourist icons.
This book is probably more chick-lit than I normally read but I enjoyed it anyway. It has a magical quality - how does Haruko pack so many o
Jun 04, 2015 rated it liked it
This was an enjoyable read- the story of a woman who has had an affair, lost her job, and is on the run from a lawyer wanting to serve her divorce papers.So far, not all that unusual - until Arkie meets the enigmatic Haruko, who leads her on a pilgrimage through 'big things' in Queensland and New South Wales, in an effort to find and reclaim her mojo.
I found the infused Japanese cultural icons interesting, but the coincidences seemed a bit contrived.The writing itself flows well, with ideas conf
Sarah Johnston
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I really enjoyed this book. It was an entertaining read about trying to rediscover what is most important in your life. Having visited most of the Big Things that are described in this book it was easy to visualise the settings. When you first see a Big Thing they can appear as uninspiring, tacky and pointless but the theme of this book enables the main character, Arkie to gain insight from each of these Australian icons and the author has done this so well.

May 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was a little unsure as I started this book but once I got my head around Arkie and haruko I was pulled in. A beautiful, quirky, creative tale about finding who you are after life splinters. Having grown up traveling the east coast of Australia (and strangely realizing how many 'big' things I've seen) I was connected to both the storytelling, the scenery and the lovely characters. Lovely book.
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Having visited most of the 'Big Things' in this most magical, beautiful, delightful and unforgettable book made me realise how much I miss the simple delight of seeing the Big Pineapple etc. for the first time all those years ago. I so love the idea of making a pilgrimage and I must admit that seeing my own state as a place of pilgrimage was so much fun.
Sarah Armstrong
Apr 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I just love this book. I love the witty, quirky, insightful humour. I love that it's optimistic and uplifting, but not saccharine. I love that it's gentle with an edgy wisdom. A perfect read for any time you need to feel a little more positive about the world.
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I thought Arkie's Pilgrimmage to the Next Big Thing was great! It was a fun, delightful and entertaining read. It was set in Australia with a Japanese influence & theme. It was about finding things closest to your heart and home.
Jan 18, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5. Review to follow.
Mar 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
Loved the cover, but didn't like the story. Good luck to Arkie on her pilgrimage but I just couldn't continue on the journey with her
Andrea Barnett
Jul 30, 2016 rated it liked it
bouyant, bright, big.
Anne Kelly
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What to do when youve lost everything. A quirky,funny and touching tale of our times. Chicken soup for the soul,as we follow one woman's journey from the edge back to her life. Good hearted tale.
There is literally a quirky inscrutable Japanese spiritual guide sidekick in this story. Struggled to not DNF as a result, despite the rather fun Big Things storyline.
Jan 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
if you liked Eat Pray Love then you'l love this...but I found it meaningless, shallow and boring :(
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Lisa's debut Young Adult novel 'Paris Syndrome' and 'Melt' a climate change comedy are released in 2018. 'Sex, Lies and Bonsai 'comes out in the US in June 2018. She is also the author of ‘Liar Bird’, and ‘Arkie’s Pilgrimage to the Next Big Thing'.

Lisa's half-hour radio play Baddest Backpackers aired on ABC Radio National in 2008. She was a finalist in the ABC Regional Short Story Award and winne