Malcolm McKay - Author

About The Path

The Path by Malcolm McKay

The Path is the journey of a lifetime to self discovery.

It is the story of a group of international travellers who walk the Camino de Santiago, the ancient eight hundred kilometre pilgrimage across Northern Spain to the remains of the apostle James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostella.  The group is of all ages, all professions, all religious denominations - and none.  Each of them has their own thoughts, worries about the future, and questions to ask.

They tread a path that has been beaten for a millenium; by foot, by horse, by the poor and by royalty.  Having ascended the frozen peaks of the Pyrenees, they are whipped by the wind and baked by the sun as they cross the great plains of Spain; then, exhausted, they climb again into the mountains of Galicia until finally they crest the brow of the last hill and see laid out before them, bathed in golden sunlight, Santiago, the magic city of Saint James.

And it’s only there, having endured thirty-five days of body-shock, the equivalent of a half marathon a day, that they can assess how far they’ve come in their spiritual and psychological quest and how much of their old selves they’ve left behind.

Ex British army captain Peter Donald and beautiful Danish businesswoman, Ingrid Sorensen have come together, parted, and seen their lives for what they are, the unrelenting pursuit of sexual comfort.  Werner Schmidt, a manic and dangerous Austrian architect, challenges Ingrid (as he challenges everyone else) to the very root of her being. 

Others have more spiritual concerns.  Swiss lawyer, Eva Protin, devoted to the Virgin Mary, sees visions in the trees and has a decision to make that will change her life profoundly and irrevocably.   As does Father Paul Kramer, a catholic priest from Minnesota, facing the greatest dilemma of his life, should he leave the church?

Travelling with them is Oskar a huge, shaven-headed, visionary German company director with a plan to revolutionise human behaviour by the use of digital technology.  His dominant personality is undaunted by any challenge except maybe that of his own sexuality.

Then there’s Llewellyn Lewis a Welsh painter who’s forgotten how to paint  and stumbles, drunk, from one village to the next.  He’s taken under the malign wing of Werner the Austrian Architect who bullies him into the decision he needs to make.

And as comic relief Rhoda and Deena an argumentative Canadian mother and daughter humourously traverse the mountains and plains, (mainly by taxi), as mother Rhoda tries to prevent Deena, aged thirty-five, leaving her to find her own life - and a man.

The group talk as they walk, separating sometimes for days before coming together again.  They eat and drink in the evenings passionately debating the meaning of their lives until they lie exhausted in the bunkrooms along the way, dreaming of what they’ve learnt and trying to understand what they’ve become. 

The climax of their story is a terrible and deeply shocking death which changes their view of themselves forever.  It happens only twenty-four hours from Santiago and it’s there they have to come to terms with what they’ve discovered about themselves.  They leave the city deeply marked and changed, some happy, some not; all realising that the Path doesn’t necessarily give you the answers you need or expect, but that perhaps the person asking the questions is different.

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