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Starred Review. Gilbert (The Last American Man) grafts the structure of romantic fiction upon the inquiries of reporting in this sprawling yet methodical travelogue of soul-searching and self-discovery. Plagued with despair after a nasty divorce, the author, in her early 30s, divides a year equally among three dissimilar countries, exploring her competing urges for earthly delights and divine transcendence. First, pleasure: savoring Italy's buffet of delights - the world's best pizza, free-flowing wine and dashing conversation partners - Gilbert consumes la dolce vita as spiritual succor. "I came to Italy pinched and thin," she writes, but soon fills out in waist and soul. Then, prayer and ascetic rigor: seeking communion with the divine at a sacred ashram in India, Gilbert emulates the ways of yogis in grueling hours of meditation, struggling to still her churning mind. Finally, a balancing act in Bali, where Gilbert tries for equipoise "betwixt and between" realms, studies with a merry medicine man and plunges into a charged love affair. Sustaining a chatty, conspiratorial tone, Gilbert fully engages readers in the year's cultural and emotional tapestry - conveying rapture with infectious brio, recalling anguish with touching candor - as she details her exotic tableau with history, anecdote and impression.
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At the age of thirty-one, Gilbert moved with her husband to the suburbs of New York and began trying to get pregnant, only to realize that she wanted neither a child nor a husband. Three years later, after a protracted divorce, she embarked on a yearlong trip of recovery, with three main stops: Rome, for pleasure (mostly gustatory, with a special emphasis on gelato); an ashram outside of Mumbai, for spiritual searching; and Bali, for "balancing." These destinations are all on the beaten track, but Gilbert's exuberance and her self-deprecating humor enliven the proceedings: recalling the first time she attempted to speak directly to God, she says, "It was all I could do to stop myself from saying, 'I've always been a big fan of your work.'"
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker
Great book. The seller provided the book in a timely fashion and it was exactly as described.
While Elizabeth Gilbert might not continue to follow the lessons she... Read more
This book was fantastic!!!!! An eye opening book about life! WOW!!! I would recommend this book as a must read for everyone.Published 2 days ago by Darlene Ludwig
A heartfelt, cleverly written account of a young woman making her way, spiritually, emotionally and gastronomically through a difficult but rewarding time in her life. Read morePublished 2 days ago by KMAnderson
Impressed with the quality of this book. Not what I would consider this hardback but the inside is pretty much perfect. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Heather
I do not get what the rave was about this book. I read it and it is a selfish spoiled woman who gets a divorce and has borderline personality disorder with her dramatics and... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Tamicat