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Cover for The Wisdom of Donkeys

The Wisdom of Donkeys

Finding Tranquility in a Chaotic World

Andy Merrifield, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas (Introduction by)


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A literary ode to peace, presence, and fulfillment inspired by a walk taken with a most surprising creature.

"The demon of speed is often associated with forgetting, with avoidance . . . and slowness with memory and confronting," observes Milan Kundera in his novel Slowness. With that purpose in mind-a search for slowness and tranquility, Andy Merrifield sets out on a journey of the soul with a friend's donkey, Gribouille, to walk amid the ruins and spectacular vistas of southern France's Haute-Auvergne.

As Merrifield contemplates literature, science, truth, and beauty amid the French countryside, Gribouille surprises him with his subtle wisdom, reminding him time and again that enlightenment is all around us if we but seek it.

Praise For The Wisdom of Donkeys: Finding Tranquility in a Chaotic World

“Merrifield makes us feel the heat and dust of the road as well as the gentle breath of Gribouille on his shoulder as they walk. Whatever the ills of this world, it somehow begins to seem credible that a donkey can wash them away.” —Christian Science Monitor

“Unless you read Andy Merrifield, you might never appreciate how interested you could be in donkeys...I cannot imagine a more charming, informative or restful book.” —Jim Crace

“Searching for silence after a life of noise, he hears rain, birds, insects, church bells, wind and owls -- some of these for the first time. 'I can't help thinking,' he notes at the end of his trip, 'that daydreams make us, that our little life is rounded with reverie rather than sleep.'” —Los Angeles Times

“An absolutely charming, lovely, and loving book.” —Jeffrey Masson

“It is too seldom that the Spiritual Living section of LJ has an opportunity to read and review a real love story, but this is such a book...Highly recommended.” —Library Journal

Bloomsbury USA, 9780802719928, 256pp.

Publication Date: May 3, 2010

About the Author

Andy Merrifield is an independent scholar and author of eleven books and numerous articles, essays and reviews in The Nation, Harper's Magazine, New Left Review, Adbusters, Brooklyn Rail, Radical Philosophy and Dissent. He has spent decades teaching and writing about urbanism, social theory and literature, both inside and outside of a conventional university setting. He has also published three intellectual biographies on Henri Lefebvre, Guy Debord, and John Berger. He is a regular speaker at scholarly, literary and political events on and off-campus. Over the years, he has led a somewhat nomadic existence, residing in the UK, the US, France and Brazil.