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Off the Road
A Modern-day Walk Down the Pilgrim's Route Into Spain
Baker & Taylor A funny, irreverent travelogue through France and Spain describes places considered sacred--fortresses, monasteries, statues, and relics--and features quirky, modern pilgrims seeking knowledge of themselves and each other rather than God. 15,000 first printing.
Blackwell North Amer In this irreverent, ruminative adventure, Jack Hitt sets out to walk the 500 miles along the pilgrimage route from France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Off the Road charts the serendipitous encounters of another American innocent abroad, only this one submits to the rigorous traditions of Europe's oldest form of packaged tour. The result is a comic yet sympathetic attempt to understand the vanishing role of religion in modern life. Off the Road is an unforgettable tour of the sites that people believe God once touched: the strange fortress said to contain the real secret Adam learned when he bit the apple; the miraculous chickens of the fourteenth century whose descendants still dance in the church of Santo Domingo; the sites associated with the murderous monks known as the Knights Templar; and the places housing relics ranging from a vial of the Virgin Mary's milk to a sheet of Saint Bartholomew's skin. Along the way, in small-town shelters or lost among Spanish mountains, Jack Hitt finds himself persevering by day and bunking down by night with an unlikely cast of fellows - a Flemish film crew, a drunken gypsy, a draconian Belgian air force officer, a man who speaks no languages, a one-legged pilgrim, and a Welsh family with a mule. Off the Road rediscovers the warm hilarity that underlies the solemn rituals of the past. In the day-to-day grind of walking under a hot Spanish sun, Jack Hitt and his smelly cohorts not only find occasional good meals and dry shelter, but they also stumble upon some fresh ideas about old-time zealotry and modern belief. Anyone disturbed by America's sense of a disposable past will relish the way this offbeat journey through history turns into a provocative rethinking of the present.
Baker & Taylor A travelogue through France and Spain describes places considered sacred--fortresses, monasteries, statues, and relics--and features modern pilgrims seeking knowledge of themselves and each other, rather than God