From Kirkus Reviews:
Sibley's accounts of his trip were originally published as a series of articles in 2000 in the Ottawa Citizen, where the author is an award-winning senior writer. At 57, " an age when memories claimed more and more of [his] waking thoughts," Sibley followed through on a promise that he would take his son Daniel on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, or the Way of St. James, a journey beginning in France and ending in Spain, after Daniel's college graduation.
He makes clear this isn't a guidebook, instead referring to his story as a "phenomenology of pilgrimage." Sibley occasionally converses with people along the way and during evening stays at hostels, but the bulk of the narrative tracks his internal monologue. He toils with a series of existential issues, ruminating on life's necessities, his desire to conquer the mountains, the trail's rich history and his own long-forgotten memories. He quotes a wide variety of writers, including T.S. Eliot, St. Thomas Aquinas and Pico Iyer, to name just a few.
During the journey, his physical discomfort dissipated and his mind quieted, although his secret hopes that the divine would be revealed remained unfulfilled. Sibley has a finely tuned appreciation for close-to-the-ground details, and his descriptions are deep and sincere without being overly earnest.
Appealing reading for those interested in memoirs about the Camino de Santiago and other epic modern-day treks.
Relating the story of his own pilgrimage in a time of religious disenchantment, and comparing his experiences to those of other pilgrims who have written about the Camino de Santiago, Robert Sibley engages and maintains the reader's interest to the end. Unique and memorable, The Way of the Stars also has a refreshing sense of irony and humor.—Edward F. Stanton, author of Road of Stars to Santiago
Sibley is an extraordinary writer with a unique, distinct voice. If I had not already walked this path or was only pondering undertaking it, his account is winsome enough that I would want to walk it.—Arthur Boers, author of Living into Focus: Choosing What Matters in an Age of Distractions
Sibley reflects on his journey on the famous pilgrimage: both the outward journey along the 500-mile path, and his inward journey of reflection and spiritual rejuvenation.— US Catholic
Sibley, a journalist and professor, chronicles his first medieval-style pilgrimage along the Spanish Camino, a 750-kilometer route leading to a World Heritage site, the city of Santiago. Bookending that journey is his return years later to retrace it with his grown son. Undertaking the first trek as neither a devout believer nor an expert (though experienced) long-distance trekker, Sibley found his journey filled with emotional, spiritual, social, physical, and intellectual discoveries.
He provides imagistic access of each process, offering readers not so much an armchair travelogue as a meditation on the role such a dedicated journey can play in the life of the traveler. His quick crafting of such scenes as coping with a blood blister, sharing dinner with a woman planning her next pilgrimage (to the Ganges, which is holy to Hindus), and enjoying the simplicity of the quarters set aside for those traveling the Way of the Stars through Spain’s countryside bring the trip alive, offering the reader, as well as the writer, insight on an ancient meditative challenge as it can still be practiced today.— Francisca Goldsmith