TWO STEPS FORWARD by Graeme Simsion


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Two unexpected pilgrims find friendship—and themselves—on the Camino de Santiago.

Zoe is a recently widowed mother of grown daughters from California who decides to deal with her grief by visiting an old college friend in the south of France, a choice that leads her to spontaneously decide to do the pilgrimage walk. Martin is an engineer from England who decides to road test the prototype of a new cart design on the Camino while avoiding dealing with the repercussions of a messy divorce and its effects on his relationship with his teenage daughter. Despite a rocky start in Cluny, the two find they enjoy walking with each other and unknowingly push each other to deal with the problems they’ve been running from. Zoe and Martin are refreshing protagonists, written in alternating first-person chapters by Australian husband-and-wife team Simsion (The Best of Adam Sharp, 2017, etc.) and Buist (Dangerous to Know, 2016, etc.) in alternating chapters, both characters comfortably middle aged and dealing with more mature problems than the average 20-something backpacker. Their walk is littered with characters who come and go along the path, Brazilians and Germans and Italians adding pockets of drama as they weave in and out of each other’s Camino. The story resonates with authenticity, as the authors themselves have walked the Camino twice before, allowing them to ground the plot with small details and observations that could come only from someone who’s lived it. Affection for the experience pours from every paragraph. The feeling of camaraderie between strangers from around the world brings a warmth to the narrative, making it personal, real, and inviting.

With wit and wisdom, Simsion and Buist have crafted a novel that will have readers wanting to walk a Camino of their own.

Pub Date: May 1st, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-06-284311-1
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2018


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