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What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim: A Midlife Misadventure on Spain's Camino de Santiago de Compostela Paperback – Aug 9 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Greystone Books; 1st Edition edition (Aug. 9 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1553652401
  • ISBN-13: 978-1553652403
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #56,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


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


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


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

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Brigitte Amat on Aug. 31 2007
Format: Paperback
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Feb. 9 2008
Format: Paperback
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 By Mrs. Nancy M. Leblanc on Oct. 29 2009
Format: Paperback
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 By Avid Reader on Oct. 16 2009
Format: Paperback
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 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 By caseygirl TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Dec 28 2012
Format: Paperback
I read this book because I had been hearing a lot recently about the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. I had watched the movie The Way and thought, maybe, just maybe, I could attempt such walk even at my advanced age! This book was incredibly enlightening. The walk is obviously not for the faint of heart or certainly the elderly. The movie made it look like a walk in the park, this book I am presuming tells it like it really is, a very difficult walk. I enjoyed the way it was written and the experiences and encounters the author had with others.She is very entertaining. I didn't find her whiney at all, I thought she was very stoic and I would have left the other women behind as well with all their little cliques and infantile ways. I kept thinking while reading that she probably would not complete the walk because she repeatedly kept threatening to quit.Kudos to her that that she did. Why I gave this book only three stars is because I felt very let down at the end regarding the English man she met. The odd relationship was never explained satisfactorily at all and leaves the reader hanging. I understand perhaps his situation was very personal and he didn't want information disclosed but it would have been better to have left him out of the storyline completely or mentioned him vaguely as if he was just yet another of her encounters enroute thus confirming the psychic's prediction. The hotel room experience she relates I found very odd.I came to the conclusion that not many make this walk as your typical "pilgrimage" but everyone seems to end it with some sort of positive enlightenment. It's a good book which thoroughly convinced me I should have done the walk twenty years ago!
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