Search 57,387 Camino Questions

A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it


Advertisement
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store
Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery

Forum Book Club - 2.3: The Man with the Camino Tattoo (Dermot Breen)

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
1989
This time, on time, I'm starting the thread for the third book in this "Not the Camino Frances" trio of books:
The Man with the Camino Tattoo by Dermot Breen (ISBN 978-1-910044-17-9) - Camino del Norte

"In 2016, Dermot Breen decided to undertake a gruelling 1,000 kilometre pilgrimage along the challenging Camino del Norte in memory of his wife Jacqui, who had been cruelly taken from him fifteen months earlier by ovarian cancer. As he carries his rucksack and great sense of loss with him along the centuries old route, he dearly hopes to achieve some sort of peace - perhaps even find a place of sanctuary. And as the land he passes through gradually reveals many of its wondrous myths and legends associated with St James, he begins to believe that miraculous events are perhaps not only confined to the past."

I have to admit, I start this thread with a bit of trepidation. You folk are a tough audience.

This one I have read. While I wouldn't say it was one of my favourite Camino memoirs, I don't recall struggling to finish it. But then again, I didn't struggle with Sinning Across Spain, either, as many of you seem to have done. This book seems to be the middle book in a pilgrim trilogy, the other two taking place on pilgrimages in Ireland. It does stand on its own, though. I haven't read the other two.

Let us know what you think in this thread. If you want to volunteer to take up the mantle and recommend your own series of three or four books, that would be great, too.
 
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.
Published on Amazon
Guide to the 16 main caminos with maps, pictures, hyperlinks and other information.

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I have to admit, I start this thread with a bit of trepidation. You folk are a tough audience.
Yes, we do sometimes get a bit harsh. I want to give all the authors credit - they have all been excellent writers, put huge effort into the writing, and provided us with unique perspectives. They must be doing something right, since we keep coming back for more. Sort of like suffering through the camino - blisters, snoring and all - and returning again and again.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Caminos Francais: 2002, 2012, 2019. (Future Ingles, Primitivo, Portuguese in 2021)
Noted; of the Camino memoirsw I have read I did like, some were magnifient, outright laughter and/or tears inducing, emotional resposible and enlightning; several were uninspiring and irritatingly short on either emotion or detail, and one is rather nice, if I do say so myself as I wrote it and in a MAC in languishes. Note to self: Kindle!

So thank you for D Breen's latest; Ireland keeps coming up for me as a long walk option from the west of Dublin's "Greenway" has been whispering my name. 90 miles: flat walk and drink Guinness!
 

gns

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
First 2016
Latest Camino Frances Jul-Aug 2020
Probably guilty as charged. I start out wanting to like these people but sometimes it is hard.

I have a recurring daydream. A group of pilgrims are alone in an isolated albergue on a stormy night. There is an American priest, a passionate Basque, a fussy nun, an Australian actress and now a blistered Irishman. In the morning they are found dead. During the night a man in a cape and sandals was seen leaving the building. The locals say it was Santiago Matobloggo.

I have just acquired this one on Kindle.
 

TrvlDad1

Covidyard Bob
Year of past OR future Camino
2017 Frances from Saria
2018 Finnisterre & Ingles
2019 Portuguese from Valenca
2020 Assisi(cancel.)
This time, on time, I'm starting the thread for the third book in this "Not the Camino Frances" trio of books:
The Man with the Camino Tattoo by Dermot Breen (ISBN 978-1-910044-17-9) - Camino del Norte

"In 2016, Dermot Breen decided to undertake a gruelling 1,000 kilometre pilgrimage along the challenging Camino del Norte in memory of his wife Jacqui, who had been cruelly taken from him fifteen months earlier by ovarian cancer. As he carries his rucksack and great sense of loss with him along the centuries old route, he dearly hopes to achieve some sort of peace - perhaps even find a place of sanctuary. And as the land he passes through gradually reveals many of its wondrous myths and legends associated with St James, he begins to believe that miraculous events are perhaps not only confined to the past."

I have to admit, I start this thread with a bit of trepidation. You folk are a tough audience.

This one I have read. While I wouldn't say it was one of my favourite Camino memoirs, I don't recall struggling to finish it. But then again, I didn't struggle with Sinning Across Spain, either, as many of you seem to have done. This book seems to be the middle book in a pilgrim trilogy, the other two taking place on pilgrimages in Ireland. It does stand on its own, though. I haven't read the other two.

Let us know what you think in this thread. If you want to volunteer to take up the mantle and recommend your own series of three or four books, that would be great, too.
Thank you for taking up the mantle. I probably will miss or be quite late reading this one (I chair another Book Club that selects epic tomes). I have enjoyed all the other Book Club selections even though we seem to be tough critics.
I have read a couple of fictionalized Camino books from your bibliography and especially enjoyed Merchant's List by A. N. Caird. If anyone wants to run a thread on fictionalized Camino stories, there are some great possibilities in your bibliography.
 
2021 Camino Guides
Most all Camino authors have decided to use 2020 guides for 2021, with free PDF files with updates coming in the spring. Get yours today.
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
1989
Thank you for taking up the mantle. I probably will miss or be quite late reading this one (I chair another Book Club that selects epic tomes). I have enjoyed all the other Book Club selections even though we seem to be tough critics.
I have read a couple of fictionalized Camino books from your bibliography and especially enjoyed Merchant's List by A. N. Caird. If anyone wants to run a thread on fictionalized Camino stories, there are some great possibilities in your bibliography.
Maybe you can pick three or four and start a new round with that theme starting in August?
 

gns

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
First 2016
Latest Camino Frances Jul-Aug 2020
And now for the Norte

This is another Camino which I haven't walked (yet?) so I was interested in how Mr Breen would present it. He was walking to fundraise for cancer research and to try and find some sort of closure over grieving for his late wife. To avoid spoilers I will just say that this is handled sensitively and imaginatively. I thought this aspect of the book might be off putting but it wasn't.

I was very critical of the previous author for imagining events relating to Santiago's arrival in Galicia and I am going to repeat that criticism here. In this case it takes the form of interludes at the start of each chapter based on a medieval book of legends. I suspect that this is to help readers unfamiliar with the Camino but it jars.

The narrative itself is fine and as the author is better prepared than others I could mention, he takes his time and the physical journey is as drama free as a camino is likely to be. He engages with his fellow pilgrims and describes them positively, basks in the beautiful scenery and towns and admires the churches along the way. I have to say as an ex-drinker that this felt like a very bibulous camino. The bars and restaurants of Northern Spain are definitely not worse off for Mr Breen's presence. It is therefore a good description of the type of Camino that most people would want to experience. A good walk through beautiful landscapes followed by a hearty meal in good company. The albergue experience is well rendered and I liked that he is unapologetic about taking refuge in hotels when it gets to be a bit much.

We are in lapsed catholic territory again and Mr Breen is at pains to tell us he is not religious. I am not sure if it is us he is trying to convince.

I came away curiously unexcited by the Norte. It is beautiful yes but there is no sense of variety or the changing of acts which other caminos have, and which the previous memoirs have conveyed. The cities are not the great set pieces we see in Leon, Salamanca or Porto. The drama of the Frances which astonished me in August last year is missing.

This is one I can definitely recommend although the panache of the Great Westward Walk still wins out.
 

Did not find what you were looking for? Search here

Popular Resources

“All” Albergues on the Camino Frances in one pdf ivar
  • Featured
“All” Albergues on the Camino Frances in one pdf
4.95 star(s) 100 ratings
Downloads
15,117
Updated
A selection of favorite albergues on the Camino Francés Ton van Tilburg
Favorite Albergues along the Camino Frances
4.83 star(s) 35 ratings
Downloads
7,778
Updated
Profile maps of all 34 stages of the Camino Frances ivar
Profile maps of all 34 stages of the Camino Frances
4.88 star(s) 24 ratings
Downloads
7,600
Updated

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

Top