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Walking in Circles


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A great travelogue should offer three different types of exploration: into a particular time abroad, into the author's brain, and also, most profoundly, into our own psyche. Todd Wassel's adventures in Japan delivers on each criteria with gusto. A sure-footed, special book.--Gordon Peake, author of Beloved Land: stories, struggles and secrets from Timor-Leste
Wassel brings a bold new voice to travel writing. WALKING IN CIRCLES not only succeeds by immersing the reader in an experience few people get to have in person, but he also shares his own personal story that makes this a story of self-exploration that anyone can relate to.--Alex Dolan, author of The Euthanist
One of the most interesting books on the pilgrimage.--David Billa, Setouchi Explorer
Wassel evinces a contemporary preoccupation--without obviously naming it--with authenticity. A pilgrimage, of course, is among the clearest of options for reconciling personal authenticity (being true to thine own self, let's say) and a desire to seek out authentic experience (walking as the truest form of the pilgrimage, engaging only in Japanese) that the average backpacker might only dream of. In many ways, that reconciliation--ironic and surprising, as it unfolds across the narrative--is at the heart of the book. "Walking in Circles" is, finally, also wonderful just for its insider-outsider insight into Japanese culture. That Wassel's conflicted relationship to Japan echoes his own conflicted relationship to his own culture's expectations of adulthood . . . well, that's also part of the genius and the fun.--5 Star Amazon Review
I think I have read pretty much all of the Shikoku Henro travelogues, and this is among the best.--5 Star Amazon Review

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