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Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom Paperback – Bargain Price, November 1, 1998


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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Cliff Street Books; 2nd Paperback Edition edition (November 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006092943X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060929435
  • ASIN: B000JCEAXW
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (211 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,780,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom offers an exploration of the secret universe we all carry inside us, the connections we forge with the worlds of our friends and loved ones, and the products of our worlds reflected in the things we create outside of ourselves. Anam Cara, Gaelic for "soul friend," is an ancient journey down a nearly forgotten path of wisdom into what it means to be human. Drawing on this age-old perspective, John O'Donohue helps us to see ourselves as the Celts did: we're more than just flesh, blood, and bone; we comprise individual worlds. The comprehension of the sublime architecture of the worlds we are born with will engender a new appreciation for the outside world and the way we contribute to its evolution. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The Gaelic title refers to the "soul-friend," a lovingly stern companion to whom you can, in stringent honesty, unburden your heart as you move toward enlightenment. O'Donohue positions himself to be that soul's companion for readers who yearn for a spirituality that is accepting of bodily wisdom but does not deny the power of the Christian vision. The Celts--well, the Irish, anyway--grappled with that yearning more than a millennium ago. Irish traditional ways were never subjected to the kinds of discouragement--racks, skewers, lions, and the like--practiced on the continent and so were able to wed pagan sensuality to the ethical challenges of the new creed. Reperforming that marriage, O'Donohue is as much at ease with Heidegger as with Yeats, with Rilke as with Jung, as he discourses on solitude, work, love, and death and works snippets of ancient Irish poetry seamlessly into the fabric of his text. Eloquent and learned, O'Donohue is more than just another Paddy-come-lately cashing in on River Danceera Celtophilia. He is the real thing: a poetic priest with the soul of a pagan. Expect demand! (HarperCollins does, to the tune of a 150,000-copy first printing.) Patricia Monaghan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

JOHN O'DONOHUE authored several books, including, most recently, Beauty, and the international bestsellers Anam Cara and Eternal Echoes, as well as two collections of poetry, Echoes of Memory and Conamara Blues. He lived in Ireland and frequently traveled to the United States to give lectures and conduct workshops before he passed away on January 4, 2008.

Customer Reviews

Anam Cara is one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read.
Becky Flesher
He has packed so much into this book that you may, as I did, want to read just few pages a day.
Thomas M. Loarie
The prose of this book is short and direct much like poetry and is a very easy read.
Edward Foley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

218 of 221 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The magic about this book is that it centers completely on the definition of the human experience and all the emotions that it entails. In addition it gives us guidelines usually through poetic pieces and beautifully scripted prose on dealing with many of life's issues.
I read most of this book on a flight back home to Ireland. I just couldn't put it down. As cynical and routine that life sometimes appears each of us has a yearning to break the mold, break the routine and deep down find our way, our reason for being on this earth. O'Donohue reminds us regardless of who we are and what the material world values us at - our soul has a yearning to belong and live life spontaneously and to avoid the clutter of routine and the depression of complacency.
There are important lessons in this book on the areas of love, death, belonging, depression etc. Finding your significant other for example is something that happens through fate. Death should be celebrated for the life that it gave an individual and the journey it now presents to the soul. Depression should be addressed not through constant interactions with pyschologists, who yes help, but confronting that which caused the depression in the first place and absorbing it as a strength rather than a weakness.
I was in Ireland for a funeral, which though a sad event, i left feeling happy - This book reminded me of what a great gift life really is.
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121 of 127 people found the following review helpful By Becky Flesher on May 9, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom is truly a work of art. Over the past three years, I have been working on discovering myself through self-help books, 12-step programs, religious study, and personal introspection. This book summed up everything I have learned (the hard way) during this time, and presented it in a beautiful package that was invigorating and thought-provoking to read. It was a pure joy. I began reading it in January, and have only just finished it last night, because each sentance was a ponderable morsel. Sometimes I would read a phrase five times over in order to fully grasp and apply it's meaning to my life. This is not a 70 mph trip through the McDonald's drive-thru, this is a seven course meal in Vienna, and every bite demands that you hold it in your mouth to savor it.
Anam Cara is one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. I plan to read it again in a year or so, because I know I will get new things out of it. I am already loaning it to a friend, and have a couple of others in mind I'd like to loan it to. I can't keep this from the ones I love.
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92 of 96 people found the following review helpful By David Starr-Glass on February 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
In the Prologue, the author describes this book as "a phenomenology of friendship in a lyrical-speculative form." That is exactly what it is. It is one of the most compelling and lyrical works that I have read. It describes the "soul-friend" but more significantly it actually suggested the possibility of me becoming my own soul's friend. It is a powerful book, weaving Celtic mystical thought with a very accessible form of approaching self and soul -- all done in a rich, poetic language. It reads very well and John O'Donohue's erudition, poetic language and abiding compassion radiate every page.
This book gave me strength and deep insight at a time when I was searching for both of these. I greatly appreciate this book's contribution to my own understanding of self and highly recommend it to you if, like me, you recognize that you are on a spiritual journey.
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful By John L Murphy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book's best taken in small doses, a few paragraphs at a time. Each chapter's broken up into such sections, ideal for guiding meditation or inspiring reflection. It's a volume I gave away as a gift and re-purchased for myself after I read it, knowing that I'd return to its contents again and again. O'Donohue's learned much from those with whom he lives and talks and ministers, and his frequent interspersions of Celtic tradition and current Irish-language proverbs and observations attest to the continuity of the Gaelic worldview within the larger Anglo-American hegemony that dominates our lives.

One of the best recommendations for this guide is its refusal to romanticize the rural and rooted tradition's hardships as well as its comforts. The author comes from the people he writes about, and this grounding keeps his suggestions--however philosophical they may soar--concise, honest, and free of cant. The respect for the life lived under the radar and the flyover culture by those committed to the land energizes these stories. Mixing tales and legends and theology from the Irish perspective with contemporary analogies, incidents, and insights, this book somehow avoids touchy-feely simpering or wishful fairie musings.

It's appropriate for those of any faith, any skeptic, or any with spiritual longing. Written by a priest, but never limited to a Christian presentation, the transparent ecumenism of the author's approach speaks to any reader wondering about the Big Questions. Humbly, eloquently, and frankly, it's like having a personal confessor or soulmate with whom you can sit and listen companionably. There's no sloganeering, no ten steps to salvation in ten minutes a day, and no assurances of glib piety.
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