THE ROAD TO SANTIAGO

Kathryn Harrison, Author . National Geographic $20 (150p) ISBN 978-0-7922-3745-7

Retraction: Publishers Weekly wishes to retract the review of Born to Steal by Gary Weiss (Forecasts, Mar. 24). Several statements (that "Weiss covered Pasciuto's story for Business Week in the 1990s, and he is almost fond of the man and his cohorts"; that Louis Pasciuto "borrowed money" from Charles Ricottone; that Pasciuto testified against Ricottone; and that Ricottone was convicted of racketeering) are incorrect. PW apologizes to Mr. Weiss for the errors.

THE ROAD TO SANTIAGOKathryn Harrison. National Geographic, $20 (168p) ISBN 0-7922-3745-5

More memoir than travelogue, Harrison's contribution to National Geographic's Directions series is reflective and deeply personal, yet still manages to recreate a physical place in all its rugged, peaceful glory. The titular road is a 400-mile path beginning in France and ending in Santiago, in northwestern Spain. A thousand-year-old pilgrimage route, the road can be walked in segments or in total, and Harrison (Seeking Rapture; The Kiss; etc.) touches upon her three separate trips along the camino. She bravely—some might say illogically—makes her first pilgrimage (in 1992) solo (solita), when she's seven months pregnant. Her second—and perhaps most significant—voyage along the camino comes seven years later, alone again. The third trip, which she makes with her 12-year-old daughter, is the one that begins this book, and kicks off the series of lessons Harrison learns along the way. Traveling with an adolescent, Harrison discovers "the grace to quit." As she walks "toward the invisible, the improbable, the ridiculous," the author discards extra soap and leaking bottles of sunscreen in an effort to lighten her pack (although she refuses to toss the pages of her novel-in-progress, as it defines who she is). She meets other pilgrims and some intriguing locals, continually "putting one foot in front of the other," an act which, on its own, is not dramatic, but "can wreak inner havoc." In rearranging her priorities (e.g., does she have enough water to make it to the next town?) and admitting defeat (which has an oddly relaxing effect), Harrison comes to learn—and indeed, teaches readers—the importance of acceptance. Map not seen by PW. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 07/07/2003
Release date: 11/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 65 pages - 978-1-4262-0909-3
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