The Longest Way Home
One Man's Quest for the Courage to Settle Down
By Andrew McCarthy
(Free Press, Hardcover, 9781451667486, 288pp.)
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
WITH AN IRREPRESSIBLE TASTE for adventure, candor, and a vivid sense of place, award-winning travel writer and actor Andrew McCarthy takes us on a deeply personal journey played out amid some of the world’s most evocative locales.
Unable to commit to his fiancée of nearly four years—and with no clear understanding of what’s holding him back—Andrew McCarthy finds himself at a crossroads, plagued by doubts that have clung to him for a lifetime. Something in his character has kept him always at a distance, preventing him from giving himself wholeheartedly to the woman he loves and from becoming the father that he knows his children deserve. So before he loses everything he cares about, Andrew sets out to look for answers.
Hobbling up the treacherous slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, dodging gregarious passengers aboard an Amazonian riverboat, and trudging through dense Costa Rican rain forests—Andrew takes us on exotic trips to some of the world’s most beautiful places, but his real journey is one of the spirit.
On his soul-searching voyages, Andrew traces the path from his New Jersey roots, where acting saved his life—and early fame almost took it away—to his transformation into a leading travel writer. He faces the real costs of his early success and lays bare the evolving nature of his relationships with women. He explores a strained bond with his father, and how this complex dynamic shapes his own identity as a parent. Andrew charts his journey from ambivalence to confidence, from infidelity and recklessness to acceptance and a deeper understanding of the internal conflicts of his life.
A gifted writer with an unsparing eye, Andrew relishes bizarre encounters with the characters whom he encounters, allowing them to challenge him in unexpected ways. He gets into peculiar, even dangerous situations that put him to the test—with mixed results. Disarmingly likable, Andrew is open, honest, and authentic on every page, and what emerges is an intimate memoir of self-discovery and an unforgettable love song to the woman who would be his wife.
Andrew McCarthy is a writer, actor, and director. He is an editor-at-large with National Geographic Traveler and has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The Wall Street Journal. The Society of American Travel Writers named him Travel Journalist of the Year in 2010 and presented him their Grand Award in 2011. McCarthy made his acting debut at nineteen and has appeared in dozens of films, including Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo’s Fire, and The Joy Luck Club. He lives in New York.
“Soulful and searching . . . McCarthy’s prose shines with intelligence and intimacy . . . A long, strange trip on the direction of full-throttle love.”
“A candid, touching, and often humorous new memoir.”
"Combining the best aspects of Paul Theroux’s misanthropy in books like Old Patagonian Express and Elizabeth Gilbert’s emotions in Eat, Pray, Love, this book is hard to put down. Bound to be popular, this compelling and honest chronicle will not disappoint readers."
“Andrew McCarthy treks from Baltimore to the Amazon, exploring his commitment issues as fearlessly as he scales Mount Kilimanjaro."
"Brave and moving...McCarthy’s keen sense of scene and storytelling ignites his accounts...[t]hreaded with an exemplary vulnerability and propelled by a candid exploration of his own life’s frailties."
"McCarthy ponders some of the biggest and most frightening questions surrounding intimacy: How does a loner connect? How does a traveler settle down? How do we merge into families without losing ourselves? The answer seems to be that all these things are impossible...and yet somehow we do it anyway. There is much to be learned, and much to be admired, in this elegant, thoughtful story."—Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love
"This is not some memoir written by an actor who fancies himself a world traveler. McCarthy really is a world traveler – and a damned fine writer, too…To readers who think, “Andrew McCarthy? Really?” the answer is a resounding and emphatic yes. Really."
"Rarely have I seen the male psyche explored with such honesty and vulnerability. This is the story of a son, a father, a brother, a husband, a man who finds the courage not only to face himself, but to reveal himself, and, in so doing, illuminates something about what it is to be human, fully alive, and awake.” --Dani Shapiro, Author of Devotion
"It's hard to write books that are both adventurous and touching, but Andrew McCarthy manages to pull it off and more! A smart, valuable book." --Gary Shteyngart, bestselling author of Super Sad True Love Story and Absurdistan
"Where lesser writers might reach for hyperbole and Roget to describe such exotic lands as Patagonia, Kilimanjaro and Baltimore, in The Longest Way Home, McCarthy leans on subtlety, a straightforward style and hard-won insights to allow his larger stories to unfold. It’s not hard to imagine him as the solitary figure in the café, scribbling in a notebook by candlelight, making the lonely, tedious work of travel writing look romantic and easy."--Chuck Thompson, author of Better Off Without 'Em and Smile When You're Lying