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Two Steps Forward - Graeme Simsion

Paperback Published: 2nd October 2017
ISBN: 9781925498776
Number Of Pages: 368

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Zoe, a sometime artist, is from California. Martin, an engineer, is from Yorkshire. Both have ended up in picturesque Cluny, in central France. Both are struggling to come to terms with their recent past - for Zoe, the death of her husband; for Martin, a messy divorce. Looking to make a new start, each sets out alone to walk two thousand kilometres from Cluny to Santiago, in northwestern Spain, in the footsteps of pilgrims who have walked the Camino - the Way - for centuries. The Camino changes you, it's said. It's a chance to find a new version of yourself. But can these two very different people find each other? In this smart, funny and romantic journey, Martin's and Zoe's stories are told in alternating chapters by husband-and-wife team Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist. Two Steps Forward is a novel about renewal - physical, psychological and spiritual. It's about the challenge of walking an extraordinary distance and of working out where you are going. And it's about what you decide to keep, what you choose to leave behind and what you rediscover.


Great read!


Well written highly enjoyable book. Believable and enjoyable ending. I have recommended it to many.



An exquisite journey of a text


This book was highly engaging, through both the characterisation and the descriptive imagery of the Camino Trail. It was a book I couldn't put down and when I finished reading I felt that the trail had to be on my bucket list. A book I didn't want to have come to an end.



A journey of discovery of one's self


I enjoyed this book, but was a little disappointed that it did not contain more historical content about the places on the route. The interaction between the different characters was not always as well defined as I would have liked, but a second reading would probably clarify this aspect. The main characters were both well defined and easily identified with, and their individual goals and motives for doing the walk adequately covered by the author as the walk progressed. As a person who has entertained a desire to follow the footsteps of the pilgrims on this venture, and who has read several accounts of pilgrims who have completed the walk, I found the story very interesting and the personal challenges faced by the different characters very plausible and realistic.

Perth, Western Australia


A great read!


A great read!

Sydney, Australia


Two steps forward


This book is written by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist and tells the story of the Camino walk from both a male and female perspective. It does not have the humour of Rosie's Project but it is still an interesting read and enjoyable.



A really good read


On the back cover it states - wise, funny and romantic, - and it is! The chapters are short so it's easy to pick up for a quick read, and each alternating chapter is written from his or her perspective and journey. Delightful!

South Australia


A must-read book


Thoroughly enjoyed this book .. well written, both informative and amusing, and easy to read.

Trevallyn, Tasmania


Very entertaining!


Two Steps Forward is a novel written by Australian husband and wife author team, Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist. When Zoe and Martin arrive in France, neither of them does so with the Camino de Santiago in mind. Engineer, Dr Martin Eden has just gone through an acrimonious divorce, giving up his home and job for a temporary teaching position in Cluny. An aspiring artist whose fledgling career was aborted by marriage and the birth of her two (now adult) daughters, Zoe Witt is a recent widow. Her husband's sudden death brought some unpleasant surprises and she's in Cluny looking up a college friend while she comes to terms with her grief and life's new realities. Somewhat uncomfortable with her friend's matchmaking efforts, and feeling the need for solitude, Zoe surprises herself with a decision to walk the Chemin from Cluny to the Spanish border. Martin's impetus is far from spiritual: after a chance encounter with a Dutch pilgrim, he is going to road-test a pilgrim cart he has designed and hopes to sell; in fact, needs to sell as he is jobless, homeless and penniless! And with a seventeen-year-old daughter about to attend university. As their paths cross and recross, American Zoe and British Martin, along with a bunch of Brazilians, Germans and other Americans, go (despite some friction and/or frisson) from strangers to a camaraderie (and occasionally, something more) that seems not uncommon with those sharing this life-changing experience. There's plenty of humour in the dialogue and the interactions between characters: miscommunications, misunderstandings and omissions of the whole truth, as well as a bit of (almost) slapstick comedy add to the enjoyment. The male and female voices are well rendered, and the story also illustrates the wide spectrum of pilgrims attracted to Camino, with their myriad of reasons for walking. Buist and Simsion give the reader a tale about a group of ordinary people with ordinary life problems who discover that often best advice



Two Steps Forward

4.4 8


`Simsion and Australian psychiatrist Buist have written an insightful study of loss, grief, and the possibility of romance after.' * Library Journal *
`The novel explores themes of forgiveness and self-discovery with gentle humour...A feel-good, mature romance that explores what we need to let go of to move forward.' * Books+Publishing *
`I enjoyed every moment of this informative, funny and sweet novel.' * Readings *
`A novel of mature love and self-discovery set against the scenic backdrop of the pilgrims' walk.' * Age *
`There's so much to love about this novel, which is smart and funny and full of the awkwardness and adrenaline of adventure and new romance.' * Whimn *
`A delightful tale of renewal and shedding unnecessary burdens...This is sure to be loved by fans of The Rosie Project and it's enough to put the Camino at the top of your travel wishlist.' * Herald Sun *
`Fans of The Rosie Project might recognise shades of Don Tillman...Compelling reading...[A] cast of entertaining and eccentric characters...The book's momentum never flags...[An] entertaining and refreshingly unpredictable romance.' * Sydney Morning Herald *
`Sometimes, you just have to feel-to go with what the Way or a book like this one makes you feel. This one made me feel uplifted. I hope it does the same for you too.' * Pop.edit.lit. *
`Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist keep it in the family with their co-written novel Two Steps Forward (Text, October), a romantic comedy told in alternating chapters from the point of view of two wounded souls trekking the Spanish pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago.'
* Books+Publishing *
`This book was difficult to put down until the very end.' * Big Issue *
`Simsion and Buist are Camino veterans who add detail and authority to their novel.' * Adelaide Advertiser *
`This is the sort of book that you can easily imagine being filmed, with strong set pieces, gorgeous scenery, and lots of heart and humour.' * Booktopian *
`A beautifully crafted tale of love, self-acceptance and blisters'
* Sunday Express *
`charming, uplifting' The People
* The People *
`charming and absorbing'
* Daily Mail *
* Good Housekeeping *
`...an authentic and diverting read that will make you want to put on your walking boots and book a one-way ticket to southern France.'
* Press Association *

ISBN: 9781925498776
ISBN-10: 1925498778
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 368
Published: 2nd October 2017
Publisher: Text Publishing Co
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.4  x 2.7
Weight (kg): 0.49

Graeme Simsion

About the Author

Graeme Simsion worked as a computer operator, programmer and database specialist before founding a consulting business in 1982. By the time he sold Simsion Bowles & Associates in 1999, it had grown to some seventy staff in three cities. Graeme had built an international reputation in data management and written the standard text on data modelling. Until the success of The Rosie Project enabled him to concentrate on his writing, he continued to deliver seminars around the world.

Graeme is a founder of Pinot Now, a wine importer and distributor and Roy’s Antiques in Melbourne. He recently resigned from his position as a Senior Research Fellow at Melbourne University. He is married to Anne, a professor of psychiatry who writes erotic fiction. They have two children.

In 2007, Graeme completed his PhD in information systems and enrolled in the professional screenwriting course at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He has made a number of short films and his screenplay, The Rosie Project, won the Australian Writers Guild / Inscription Award for Best Romantic Comedy Script in 2010. While waiting for The Rosie Project to be produced, he turned it into a novel which in June 2012 won the Victorian Premier’s award for an unpublished fiction manuscript.

Readers of The Rosie Project will know that Graeme Simsion has a first-class sense of humour. At professional conferences he has given addresses from on top of a ladder, dressed as a duck, and he once engaged a group of spellbound chartered accountants in community singing.

Graeme Simsion won second prize in the 2013 Age short-story award for his account of a runner’s shattering experience in a marathon.

Visit Graeme Simsion's Booktopia Author Page

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