Autobiography

Kurt Koontz's A Million Steps PDF

By Kurt Koontz

Kurt Koontz idea he was once organized for his 490-mile jogging journey at the ancient Camino de Santiago pilgrimage direction in Spain.

He used to be healthy and robust. He had an excellent guidebook and the entire correct gear. His pilgrim passport might provide him entry to the guard of hostels alongside the best way. yet all that, despite the fact that important, didn't start to surround the grandeur of his exterior or inner experience.

A Million Steps climbs over the excessive meadows of the Pyrenees, quests during the unceasing wind of the Meseta, and dances within the rains of Galicia. whereas following the yellow arrows that mark the path, Koontz additionally navigates via his own background of dependancy, restoration, and love.

With outgoing humor and friendliness, he embraces the great thing about the nation-state and cheerful connections to different pilgrims from around the globe. half diary, half travelogue, 1000000 Steps is a trip inside a trip all of the technique to the Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela and past.

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Now, Malouf adds, Australians read it that way too, and see it “as a disguised argument about Australia [ . . ] as a postcolonial text, though I’m not sure I thought about it that way when I wrote it” (Levasseur and Rabalais 2002, 171). This generic liminality and its difficult location on a clear literary and cultural map reflects the way in which the novel itself questions any sense of solid boundaries between self and world, human and animal, progress and regress. The theme is directly explored both in Ovid’s physical journey to the edges of the Empire to pass, finally, beyond it, when he crosses the frozen Danube and dies in an imprecise place; and in his spiritual trajectory, when he leaves his former skeptical artist-self behind to encounter otherness and belief.

This fictional auto/biographical reconstruction of the legendary figure will be shown to achieve a much broader import than its fragmentary, postmodern mix of prose, poems, pictures and blank spaces would seem to suggest, making it in fact also a commentary on America’s history of violence. The violence that the outlaws infl ict and that is infl icted on them leads to a discussion of the role of the body, its physical boundaries, and the senses through which it establishes a contact with the world.

In this act of becoming, the Child shows Ovid a path to “drive out my old self and let the universe in” (IL 96). Ovid’s plan of educating the Child to speak encounters the superstitious skepticism of the villagers who fear his demonic powers. During a fever, in his delirium, the Child utters for the fi rst time a human word; this causes the family of the village’s chief, Ryzak, with whom Ovid and the Child are staying, to fear that he has snatched one of their souls. Lullo, Ryzak’s grandson, falls ill; he recovers, but then Ryzak himself falls ill and dies.

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A Million Steps by Kurt Koontz


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