To a mother and daughter on an illuminating pilgrimage, this is what the desert said: Carry only what you need. Burn what can't be saved. Leave the remnants as an offering.
When Kimberly Meyer gave birth to her first daughter, Ellie, during her senior year of college, the bohemian life of exploration she had once imagined for herself was lost in the responsibilities of single motherhood. For years, both mother and daughter were haunted by how Ellie came into being-Kimberly through a restless ache for the world beyond, Ellie through a fear of abandonment.
Longing to bond with Ellie, now a college student, and longing, too, to rediscover herself, Kimberly sets off with her daughter on a quest for meaning across the globe. Leaving behind the rhythms of ordinary life in Houston, Texas, they dedicate a summer to retracing the footsteps of Felix Fabri, a medieval Dominican friar whose written account of his travels resonates with Kimberly. Their mother-daughter pilgrimage takes them to exotic destinations infused with mystery, spirituality, and rich history-from Venice to the Mediterranean through Greece and partitioned Cyprus, to Israel and across the Sinai Desert with Bedouin guides, to the Palestinian territories and to Cairo and Alexandria in Egypt.
In spare and gorgeous prose, The Book of Wanderings tells the story of Kimberly and Ellie's journey, and of the intimate, lasting bond they forge along the way. A meditation on stripping away the distractions, on simplicity, on how to live, this is a vibrant memoir with the power to both transport readers to far-off lands and to bring them in closer connection with themselves. It will appeal to anyone who has contemplated the road not taken, who has experienced the gnawing feeling that there is something more, who has faced the void-of offspring leaving, of mortality looming, of searching for someplace that feels, finally, like home.
|Publisher:||Little, Brown and Company|
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)|
About the Author
Kimberly Meyer holds a doctoral degree in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston, where she was the recipient of several fellowships and grants. Her essays have appeared widely in magazines and journals and have been anthologized in the Best American Travel Writing. She teaches literature courses in the Great Books at the University of Houston, and lives in that thriving, multicultural city of no zoning with her husband and daughters.
Table of Contents
New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Frankfurt, Ulm
In the Chapel of Miraculous Healing 3
Pilgrims and Strangers 8
Departure from Home, Wherever That May Be 38
II Illustrations of the Unseen World: Venice
Imago Mundi 61
The Body Is Such a Strange Home 72
In the Pause Between Two Eternities 87
III Landscape With the Fall of Icarus: Dalmatian Coast, Greece, Cyprus
In the World As at Sea 103
Our Lady of Medjugorje 118
Landscape Without Divinity 134
Putting the Leaves in Order 151
IV Om Phalos: Holy Land
In the Courtyard of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher 167
On the Jericho Road 176
A Brief for the Defense 189
The Way 197
Looking for the Field of Damascus 212
The Pools of Bethesda 224
V Into the Void Sinai Desert
Prelude to the Wilderness 235
What the Desert Said 251
The People of the Garden 295
VI Paradise, Wherever That May Be Cairo, Alexandria
The Place of the Cure of the Soul 33
The Kingdom Within You 343
A Note on Sources 350
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
loved this book. It is a memoir of travel but also a memoir of a life as a mother. I haven't read many books that address the tension between the beloved routines of domestic life and the longing for a life unbound by routine, but this book captures what I think so many of us feel. The book is also an adventure story and an entirely believable one--funny, sad, and suspenseful. The adventures revolve around travel to places that seem dangerous--the Holy Land, Croatia, Cyprus, the Sinai--but there is also adventure in the spiritual experiences that accompany the traveling. I think that many women will see themselves in this book and be inspired by it. I know I was.
Kimberly Meyer seamlessly weaves together the deeply intimate and the historical in this wonderful memoir. She tells the story of coming to terms with the bohemian life of exploration she longed for (but was unable to experience because of the responsibilities of motherhood) and transports the reader alongside her as she retraces the steps of a medieval Dominican friar with her eldest daughter, Ellie. Meyer’s personal exploration of questions that are at the very core of the human experience and her reflections on traveling alike are bound to resonate with many. A must read.