About Two Steps Forward
A smart and funny story from the author of The Rosie Project - two misfits walk 2,000 km along the Camino to find themselves and, perhaps, each other. A novel of second chances and reinvention from Graeme Simsion, and his wife Anne Buist. Optioned for film.
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 de Compostela, 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, and a new beginning. But can these two very different people find themselves? Will they 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 a long 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 along the way.
My review of Two Steps Forward
What an absolute treat this book was to read. I loved every page. It was a travel journal, history guide, epic adventure and romantic journey all rolled into one, with huge doses of humour.
Two Steps Forward is told from the alternating points of view of Zoe and Martin, with each chapter being labelled with the narrator's name, so I never became confused as to who I was reading about. To be honest, each voice was very distinctive, so I knew who was telling the story even without the chapter name. This is down to the wonderful writing of the husband and wife team, who have together created a very unique book.
We follow both Martin and Zoe on their separate journeys along The Camino (Thec Way), a modern day pilgrimage from Cluny located in central France through to Santiago de Compostela, in Spain. Sometimes they walk separately, and alone, and at other times together. But, as this walk is a pilgrimage, they do encounter a wealth of truly interesting and diverse characters along the way.
Oh the writing! I actually felt as if I was walking The Camino. I now want to go there and see the sights, eat the food, stay in the lodgings and hostels along the way. But for me, even though the descriptions of The Camino were so evocative, the story worked for me because of these two very different and appealing characters.
I adored Martin. His practicality and likeable nature. I liked that he was a gentleman, even though he had flaws, he was a deeply caring man and this shone through. I could also picture in my mind so vividly him. and his beloved one wheeled cart. I also empathised with Zoe. A woman who was still grieving and coming to terns with the loss of her husband. I really liked Zoe, her tenacity and strong spirit. As I walked with her, I hoped that she would find what she was looking for.
Two Steps Forward is an absolute delight. It's the perfect holiday read. Pure escapism with lots of soul that makes you stop and think about what is really important in life. I adored this book.
With thanks two the publisher and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy.
Two Steps Forward is published by Two Roads on April 5. It can be found on Amazon here.