A poignant memoir by acclaimed author Dani Shapiro
In her mid-forties and settled into the responsibilities and
routines of adulthood, Dani Shapiro found herself with more questions than
answers. Was this all life was—a hodgepodge of errands, dinner dates, e-mails,
meetings, to-do lists? What did it all mean?
Despite having grown up in a deeply religious and traditional
family, Shapiro had no personal sense of faith, despite repeated attempts to
create a connection to something greater. Feeling as if she was plunging
headlong into what Carl Jung termed “the afternoon of life,” she wrestled with
self-doubt and a searing disquietude that would awaken her in the middle of the
night. Set adrift by loss—her father’s early death, the life-threatening
illness of her infant son, her troubled relationship with her mother—she had
become edgy and uncertain. At the heart of this anxiety, she realized, was a
challenge: What did she believe? Spurred on by the big questions her young son
began to raise, Shapiro embarked upon a surprisingly joyful quest to find
meaning in a constantly changing world. The result is Devotion, a literary excavation
to the core of a life.
In this spiritual detective story, Shapiro explores the
varieties of experience she has pursued—from the rituals of her black-hat
Orthodox Jewish relatives to yoga and meditation retreats. A reckoning
of the choices she has made and the knowledge she has gained, Devotion is the
story of a woman whose search for meaning ultimately leads her home. Her
journey is at once poignant and funny, intensely personal—and completely
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