Jean-Christophe Rufin walking the Camino de Santiago

A best-seller in France,  Immortelle Randonnée : Compostelle malgré moi by Jean-Christophe Rufin (Bourges, 1952; Wikipedia) has now been published in Spain as El Camino Inmortal [The immortal way].

The publisher has this to say:  “An unforgettable journey that invites to reflect and search for one’s self. The Camino de Santiago is an alchemy of time on the soul, a journey that is each year begun by hundreds of thousands of people.  Jean-Christophe Rufin undertakes one of the great travel stories of our times, in which the prestigious novelist, academic and diplomat narrates his 800 km walk on the Camino del Norte to Santiago de Compostela. On the way, the physical experience transforms into a reflection that invites to search for one’s self and to lead a full and conscious life beyond the trivial. This unusual pilgrim turns into a lucid observer who portrays with a unique sense of humor his passage along the Basque and Cantabrian coasts until reaching the Galician mountains. Colorful portraits, funny anecdotes, a delicious exercise in self-criticism for those looking for nothing and who are moved by the passion of walking on.”

A Spanish review describes it as “a refreshing and unabashed tale of the millenary pilgrimage, neither a religious work nor an exaltation of the St. James’ Way’s passion. Full of anecdotes, characters, reflections and landscapes -from the most beautiful picture postcards to massified highways and housing developments- it is written in a burlesque tone that propelled it to be the second most sold book in France in 2013.”

El Camino de Santiago [St. James’ Way; Wikipedia] has inspired a lot of writers, e.g. Cees Noteboom, Roads to Santiago – and others, who are crowding out real literature, such as the German TV presenter Hape Kerkeling with Ich bin dann mal weg [I’m Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago].

 

Sources: El País June 10, 2014, Duomo Ediciones

 

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