Liralen's Reviews > On Pilgrimage

On Pilgrimage by Jennifer Lash
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's review
Jan 28, 2014

liked it
bookshelves: z-2014, nonfiction, religion, travel, camino, reviewed

This one's a different kind of pilgrimage book than others that I've been reading lately. Jennifer Lash spent some time (unclear how much) taking busses and trains and taxis through France to visit various relics and convents, finally making her way (by train) through Spain, to Santiago.

I had this one out from the library at the same time as The Year We Seized the Day, and -- despite the almost identical covers and my twin three-star ratings -- they're very different books. Where The Year We Seized the Day (and pretty much all the others I've read so far) is about physical pilgrimage, about getting from Point A to Point B and learning something about oneself along the way, On Pilgrimage is much more, well, about Point A and Point B and Point C. Just a different focus, really.

It sounds like a sort of mini Grand Tour of holy sites, and as such there's a lot of information packed in -- the usual memoir details about where she stayed and what each place was like for her, but a far heavier focus on religious history. I ended the book with very little more understanding of Lash than I'd started with, or what particular drive pushed her on to make her pilgrimage. (A cynical part of me wonders how her experience would have been different -- or how she would have approached it differently -- had she not already been under contract to write the book -- but the same could be said of numerous others on the topic.)

The author (Ralph Fiennes' mother -- huh) died of cancer not too long after the publication of this book, and I wonder whether in some ways the trip was a last hurrah for her -- she was in remission when she made the trip, but perhaps one of those now-or-never things. It's not likely to be a book that I come back to (too much push through to the next thing; mostly religious history of a sort that doesn't hold any particular interest for me), but I hope it was the experience she was looking for.

A bit more on this book here.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 28, 2014 – Shelved
January 28, 2014 – Shelved as: z-2014
January 28, 2014 – Shelved as: nonfiction
January 28, 2014 – Shelved as: religion
January 28, 2014 – Shelved as: travel
January 28, 2014 – Shelved as: camino
January 29, 2014 – Shelved as: reviewed

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