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Release Date: January, 2001
Publisher: Harper Perennial
On April 17, 1912 -- ironically, only two days after the sinking of the Titanic -- a figure known only as Pilgrim tries to commit suicide by hanging himself from a tree. When he is found five hours later, his heart miraculously begins to beat again. Pilgrim, it seems, can never die. Escorted by his beloved friend, Lady Symbol Quartermaine, Pilgrim is admitted to the famous Burgholzu Psychiatrist Clinic In Zurichm, where he will begin a battle of psyche and soul with Carl Jung, the self-professed mystical scientist of the unconscious Slowly, Jung coaxes Pilgrim to tell his astonishing story -- one that seemingly spans 4,000 years and includes such historical figures as Leonardo da Vinci and Henry James. But is Pilgrim delusional? Are these his memories merely dreams...or is his immortal existence truly a miracle.
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HAUNTING, POETIC, AND AN EPIC TALE!
Posted by Christian on 7/15/2000
From the very first page, author Timothy Findley insinuates his haunting prose through the multi-layered folds of your mind, bringing about a trance-like ecstacy...which continues till the very last word.
The story of Pilgrim, an enigmatic soul in the form of a man, is found hanging from a tree, an apparent suicide. Rumors of his death, however, are greatly exaggerated, for this is not the first attempt he has made on his own life and recovered to tell about it. The hanging that begins this story, though, comes to the attention of Carl Gustav Jung, the noted psychotherapist, who is just coming into his own at the time of Pilgrim's untimely un-demise. To relate the rest of this epic retelling of such historical events as the creation of the Mona Lisa, or the life of Oscar Wilde, one would be denied the ultimate pleasure of experiencing it for ones self! Findley takes events that have been endlessly documented and gives them a fresh voice, a daunting task, to be sure. Not since reading Caleb Carr's "The Alienist" has this reviewer enjoyed such a vivid and imaginative story from beginning to end. And not the fun-for-the-moment satisfaction of many of todays novels...but a true, deep-seated satisfaction that lingers in the soul. Pilgrim's search for "eternal peace" and the simultaneous epiphanies experienced by Herr Doktor Jung, weave together some of the most fascinating thoughts and images in print today. It was an enthralling read, and one that I would highly recommend to any literary enthusiast or weekend historian.
Posted by graeme on 12/22/2000
different than i had imagined, yet no less enjoyable. the reincarnation theme i thought would have been expanded to more throughly explore past times, yet the ending makes up for it. the condemnation of art, of creation, yet mans incessent need for it, his own reason and undoing. quite a theme. the magnatude took some time to sink in. a very thoughfully, and tactfully written book. quite subtle.
Posted by Bess Rex on 7/6/2005
If you're looking for a diversion or a fun, entertaining read that features a movie plot, you might want to skip this one. If you're looking for literature that actually challenges you, you should definitely consider this book. Mr. Findley's world is one of compelling ideas, fully-realized characters, and some of the best, atmospheric writing I have ever come across. It's not material you can digest right away. It's writing from which you'll gain more with each re-read.
The world lost one of its very best writers when Mr. Findley died. A tragedy for those of us Americans who had only just been introduced to him.
Posted by W. D LaRue on 1/27/2000
I've read all the other reviews and it seems almost everyone has a different slant on this book. I'm not sure I, myself, understood what it actually was supposed to be about. I wish Mr Findley would clue us in to his purpose or what he wanted to accomplish with this novel. In any case, it is beautifully written, contains wonderful storytelling and has characters that you care about. In this day of instant gratification, this book requires concentration and imagination. Once read, I think the reader feels enriched. Not such a bad thing.