Home > Culture > Pilgrimage


Scribe Publications,

2012, RRP $29.95

Reviewed by Lyn Burden.

THE word "pilgrimage" evokes many images of journeys – primarily, for me, of people walking along a dusty trail with their backpacks.

Throughout the ages millions of people have ventured out on pilgrimages to distant places, very often for religious reasons.

Thus have Lourdes, Mecca and Santiago become household names as pilgrim destinations.

When Patricia discovers she has incurable motor neuron disease, she declines the doctor's offer of participating in a trial for a new drug and announces to her daughters that after seeking the advice of her priest, she should journey to remote Nicula in Romania, where there have been many people cured after the visitation of Our Lady.

And she would like her two daughters to accompany her on this pilgrimage!

Her paediatrician daughter Celeste is aghast at her mother's lack of interest in medical assistance.

Reluctantly, however, she agrees to accompany her mother, who has never travelled outside Australia and will definitely need her experience and wisdom.

As the journey of the three women towards Nicula unfolds, so does the story of their lives, and we are taken into the intimate places and secrets of a family, told particularly from Celeste's point of view.

The pilgrimage through her childhood memories uncovers the many buried conflicts that Celeste has stored away, and reminds us of the numerous ways love is expressed even within imperfect families.

A very readable book, it explores themes of life and death, faith and disbelief, love and grief.

Pilgrimage features intriguing cover artwork which captures the theme and invites the reader to delve into its pages.

Take the dive – I hope you will not be disappointed.