Out on 13 June 2019

The Crossway

Guy Stagg

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2019 Nominee

Edward Stanford Travel Memoir of the Year Award

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13 June 2019
9781509844593
352 pages
Synopsis

A BBC Radio 4 'Book of the Week'.

'A sublime, intense, and intimate account of a journey.' Philip Hoare, author of Leviathan

In 2013 Guy Stagg made a pilgrimage from Canterbury to Jerusalem. Though a non-believer, he began the journey after suffering several years of mental illness, hoping the ritual would heal him. For ten months he hiked alone on ancient paths, crossing ten countries and more than 5,500 kilometres. The Crossway is an account of this extraordinary adventure.

Having left home on New Year’s Day, Stagg climbed over the Alps in midwinter, spent Easter in Rome with a new pope, joined mass protests in Istanbul and survived a terrorist attack in Lebanon. Travelling without support, he had to rely each night on the generosity of strangers, staying with monks and nuns, priests and families. As a result, he gained a unique insight into the lives of contemporary believers and learnt the fascinating stories of the soldiers and saints, missionaries and martyrs who had followed these paths before him.

The Crossway is a book full of wonders, mixing travel and memoir, history and current affairs. At once intimate and epic, it charts the author’s struggle to walk towards recovery, and asks whether religion can still have meaning for those without faith.

Golden prose illuminates this moving account of a pilgrimage taken for the good of the author’s mental health . . . compelling . . . moving and thought-provoking

Peter Stanford - Observer

Having finished this account, I felt dazed. Dazed at the thought of all that I’d learnt from its pages about 2,000 years of Christianity, dazed at how immediate its author had made so many centuries-old stories feel, and dazed at the strangeness and brilliance of this extraordinary travelogue.

Rebecca Armstrong - i newspaper

The extraordinary story of a pilgrimage to find out the meaning of pilgrimage. Completely absorbing, personal, often funny, and full of fascinating encounters - an enlightening book from an exciting new writer.

Sarah Bakewell, author of At The Existentialist Café