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What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim: A Midlife Misadventure on SpainŐs Camino de Santiago de Compostela [Paperback]

Jane Christmas
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 9 2007

In this wickedly funny account, Jane Christmas describes her pilgrimage along Spain's infamous Camino de Santiago de Compostela in celebration of her fiftieth birthday. Somehow she finds herself leading fourteen squabbling middle-aged women—until she inadvertently loses them and sets out on her own. That is when her real adventure begins, as she battles loneliness, hunger, and exhaustion.

But she also encounters charming villages, thickly forested vales, and more compatible pilgrims, including an enigmatic fair-haired man, whose appearance has been predicted by a psychic. By journey's end, Christmas has discovered that it is the detours of life that leads us to our heart's desire.

Frequently Bought Together

What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim: A Midlife Misadventure on SpainŐs Camino de Santiago de Compostela + And Then There Were Nuns: Adventures in a Cloistered Life + Incontinent on the Continent: My Mother, Her Walker, and Our Grand Tour of Italy
Price For All Three: CDN$ 45.41

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Product Description


Forget Elizabeth George and her Oprah field memoir about a pilgrimage of rediscovery in middle age. This is the real deal . . . [Christmas's] style is equal parts Nora Ephron and Bill Bryson, balancing pithy observation with the history of the trail and her own experiences upon it . . . The warts and grottiness of Christmas's journey . . . are recognizable and relatable, much more so than a glossy religious experience or steamy love affair, and much more enjoyable for its accessibility. —Quill & Quire


Many books have been written about crossing northern Spain on the centuries-old Camino de Santiago, but this one by a Torontonian is funnier, cleverer and more informative than most. —Vancouver Sun


The title, subtitle and first line of Jane Christmas's memoir tell you almost everything you need to know about the book: who, what, where, when and why are laid out neatly, and the first sentence, 'Impulse is intuition on crack,' sets both the hook and the tone . . . It's a great first line and it suits the book, which is relentlessly smarter, funnier and holier than thou. —Globe & Mail


From the Publisher

A wickedly funny account of one woman's pilgrimage of self-discovery on the infamous Camino, the ancient road to Santiago de Compostela.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a pilgrim tells the readers Aug. 31 2007
I finished What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim, by Jane Christmas, at 1.30 am yesterday. I just couldn't put it down.

I love everything in that book: the complexion of it, the spirit. It's funny and moving at the same time and even if you can tell that the author is a pious person, she keeps an open and critical mind about her fellow pilgrims (and herself). Pilgrims are human beings, right? And when human beings are concerned, anything is to be expected and the book is indeed rich in (mis)adeventures.

The book, of course, is about the author's personal experience, but it says so much about the way we humans are - and so much about the Camino itself from an historical and geographical perspective - that even though I'm a "veteran" of the Camino myself, I think that anybody who hasn't walk it will enjoy it! And maybe even walk it one day or another, because, as they'll see, some miracles seem to be still possible after all.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Life-Changing Experience Feb. 9 2008
By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
I don't know what compelled me to read this book other than the fact that the covered mentioned something about Spain's Camino - one of the world's biggest networks of pilgrimages. Like Lourdes in the south of France, the Camino (a trio of lengthy treks to the putative sepulcher of St. James) attracts tens of thousands of hikers every year. Some are the faithful who want to draw closer to God through acts of penance, while others simply turn-up for the challenge of trudging 750 kilometers through mountainous terrain on the way to Santiago. Since this annual affair has been going on for hundreds of years, the Spanish population is well prepared to provide various degrees of hospitality for the sojourners. I even discovered a number of websites that help out-of-towners make travel arrangements to the starting line on the French side of the Pyrenees. Christmas' story is one of a wild adventure that went way beyond her initial expectations for taking the journey. Going through a mid-life crisis in Canada, resulting from a failed marriage, Christmas decided to organize a group of friends to accompany her on the roughest stretch of the Camino. For the next month or so her story unfolds along the lines of learning to adjust to the biggest challenge in her life to date: finding God in herself. As Christmas struggles to overcome the aches and pains, the fear and loathing, and the growing sense of disillusionment, she gradually learns to look outside herself and her little group of so-called friends to find a whole new world beckoning her. While the Spanish countryside and its many decrepit little villages may not possess the spiritual values that she is idealistically looking for to get her life going again, they contain a strong sense of newness and vitality that will challenge her time-worn sensibilities. Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Need to Read this! Oct. 29 2009
A few short months ago,I was introduced to this wonderful book/guide. I couldn't put it down, Liked it so much I to am preparing myself to walk,"The Camino de Santiago"! In fact I'm going in August/September of 2010! Jane has put so much inspiration/Love & Humour in this amazing read,you feela as though you're there with her! She has kept hersanity through the ,"bitching/cat fights/blisters &her fearlessness,(to take on such a long journey),physicaly,is one thing. But to take on your "inner-self", is another more bumpy journey! Thank-you Jane! Blessings Nancy
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book Oct. 16 2009
Jane Christmas is fast becoming my favourite author. Her first book, "The Pelee Project" was an outstanding memoir of a three-month sabatical on Pelee Island, Ontario with one of her three children. I read it in one weekend! What the Psychic...is even better and funnier and more probing. You can literally feel the pain and angst she suffered along with the comic moments. I read it in one weekend. Because of her, I have registered for Spanish lessons and am getting in shape to walk the Camino. Thank you Jane for inspiring so many people. I look forward to reading her third and current book, "Incontinent on the Continent". I plan on reading it this weekend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The rereading of a happy distant journey June 1 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The main reason I bought this book was curiosity.
And it was a great choice. I walked a little less than
300km on the Camino in 1996. Reading Ms Christmas'
experience was the next best thing to walking the Camino
again, minus the blisters. I would recommend that any
audacious souls who want to live that experience should
read What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim prior to their

Since I am French speaking, I purchased the book from
Amazon and read it with my best friend, the English-French

All the experiences on the Camino are highly
personal. As a man, I was very much interested in reading
a woman's point of view. The pain and blisters on the feet
seems the same, lodging in the shelters is the daily
surprise for both sexes, the dynamic among women
travelling together is dreadfully different from my manly
experience. Like the refugios along the Camino, the
characters/pilgrims are all different and offer unique
gifts or unique headaches.

The narrative is inspired, the metaphors humorously
sparkling with genuine insight that illuminate that
wonderful experience. The scenery through Christmas' eyes
is evocative and superb. You almost feel as if you are
walking beside the author. Don't miss the real
love-friendship story developing in the story.

The return to normal life is always difficult, either
by walking the Camino or reading What the Psychic Told the
Pilgrim. Prepare for it; it is addictive. The result is
highly entertaining: it offers a new perspective in life,
a new love-friendship relation for Christmas and for many
pilgrims; an inspirational read for you, or the rereading
of a happy distant journey for me. Everybody can find
something in this book to which they can relate.

Clement Pauze
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A fun read that would seem to beat the option of actually walking the Camino!
Published 24 days ago by Angela E. Silvera
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved the book and have recommended it as my choice ...
Loved the book and have recommended it as my choice for Book Club! Lots to relate to as middle-aged women!
Published 1 month ago by Lana
5.0 out of 5 stars What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim
What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim
A Midlife Misadventure on Spain’s Camino de Santiago de Compostela

Jane Christmas possesses an easy style that is infused with... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Angela Griffin
4.0 out of 5 stars intresting
I liked the daily grind it expressed with the beauty around just like everyday life. There is the same old things and the wonderful things that make our lives complete.
Published 7 months ago by Deborah Spartinelli
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting misadventure
What led me to read this book, besides that it was written by Jane, was an interest in the Camino trail.
I love journeys and hikes and discovering new places. Read more
Published 9 months ago by DenMac
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED LOVED LOVED IT !!!
OMG! just finished reading What the Psychic told the Pilgrim....LOVED LOVED LOVED IT!

My husband and I just got back from walking the trail and I could TOTALLY relate to... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Antoinette Richard
4.0 out of 5 stars Like it so far
Just beginning to read this one. Like it so far. Walking the Camino has interested me for some time, so I'm looking forward to finding out what it is like.
Published 11 months ago by Donna Clifton
5.0 out of 5 stars Trrific author and story teller
I thought this book was amazing. It held my interest to the last page. Terrific author.
Christmas was, I felt, trying to bond with her walking companions, but she was... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Clara sabean
5.0 out of 5 stars Best way to prepare ... If your Canadian
This book was hilarious ... The twigs and berries was enough to scare us out of the big bed bug filled "bunk houses" Glad we read this book, highly recommend it if you are... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Leslie Eckland
3.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening
I read this book because I had been hearing a lot recently about the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. Read more
Published 22 months ago by caseygirl
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