The Crossway is an account of Guy Stagg’s ten-month walk to Jerusalem. The author sets off from Canterbury on New Year’s Day, telling his friends and family only that he will be home before the year’s end.
He follows medieval pilgrimage routes through Western Europe, the Balkans, and the Middle East, covering more than five-and-a-half thousand kilometres. He crosses the Alps in the depths of winter, spends Easter in Rome with the new Pope, witnesses the summer protests in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, and survives the August 2013 bombings in Tripoli. Each night he stays with monks, nuns, priests, and families, gaining a rare insight into the lives of contemporary believers.
Partly conceived as an attempt to rebuild himself after several years of mental illness, the pilgrimage forces Stagg to test the strength of his recovery. It also leaves him wondering: what power might ritual have today for someone without faith?
The Crossway is full of head- and heart-expanding wonders: the perfectly observed sights of a changing landscape, the fascinating reclamation of marginal history, the thrill and shock of perilous adventure, and the encounters with fellow pilgrims that leave Stagg amused, bemused, and, at times, moved.
This a beautiful, inspiring book that will show readers the world afresh and leave their hopes renewed.
About the Author
Guy Stagg was born in 1988 and grew up in Paris, Heidelberg, Yorkshire and London.
The Crossway is moving and unique, with the sense that no one else can write like this about such places as the abbeys of France, the cities of Rome and Istanbul or the daunting landscape of pilgrimage and the often astonishing people whom Guy Stagg meets. At the book's heart is his own story; troubled, he seeks redemption and hope. Does he find them? He makes his search into a story that is gripping and uplifting -- Max Egremont, author of Forgotten Land: Journeys Among the Ghosts of East Prussia A gorgeous and moving book -- Jamie Quatro, author of Fire Sermon A marvellous book. There's a lovely plainsongish immediacy to the telling that I found hugely beguiling, and (unusually) Stagg is as effective on people as he is on place. It's also a generous piece of self-reckoning -- William Atkins, author of The Moor Guy Stagg makes a pilgrimage across Europe, into history and, most powerfully, the (troubled) interior of his soul. He takes us on a journey full of wonder and woe, poetry and pain; writing in prose that's as sure-footed as it is unsettling in its honesty. A brave and beautiful account of a man's search for meaning -- Rhidian Brook, author of The Aftermath