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Gideon's first book, A Sense of Direction, is part memoir, part travelogue, and part extended quasi-anthropological digression about pilgrimage; it's a book about restlessness, purpose, self-deception, and the kinds of overnight transformations we suspect we deserve. It was published by Riverhead Books in the US, One in the UK, Suhrkamp in Germany, Am Oved in Israel, Agathon in the Netherlands, and is forthcoming in Spain and France. The television rights have been optioned by Red Hour. 

It is available at Amazon, Amazon UK, and Powell's. It was excerpted, in somewhat different form, in McSweeney's, T magazine, and Salon. You can listen to him read part of it at NPR's Berlin Stories.


"Beautiful, often very funny… Lewis-Kraus weaves a story that is both searching and purposeful, one that forces the reader, like the pilgrim, to value the journey as much as the destination.” –The New Yorker

“Here is one of the best and most brilliant young writers in America.” –GQ

"There is just the right measure here of the knowing, the self-deluding and the knowingly self-deluding for us not to write this book off as simply a male take on the path-to-enlightenment banalities of, say, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. Outer journey as metaphor for inner journey teeters perilously close to cliché. Fortunately Lewis-Kraus is too good a writer to fall into the more obvious traps: his ear for dialogue is sharp and funny, his observations of others are astute without being cruel, his anxieties genuinely endearing."–Rebecca Abrams, Financial Times

"His version of the art world in Berlin, for example, inextricably linked to bar life and sex life, is filled with wit, insight and hilarity. He has a way of seeming to be as lazy as sin, a sort of good-for-nothing who leaves others to pick up the tab, too empty-headed to read or think much, but this is merely a type of sly grace. He is a good noticer who has the knack of pretending that, really, he has noticed nothing much at all – he was too busy thinking about himself... He has a gift for writing smart sentences... Lewis-Kraus manages to make his own needs and the dramas within his own family pressing and oddly raw and almost moving... By the end of the book, as in all the best movies, something has been resolved, and perhaps there is something we, who are not members of this particular family, could learn from all of this."–Colm Tóibín, The Guardian

"A Sense of Direction is a painfully particular and deeply personal book about a subject that typically gets treated with the airbrushed gloss of a travel brochure." —Bookforum   

“Gideon Lewis-Kraus has written a very honest, very smart, very moving book about being young and rootless and even wayward. With great compassion and zeal he gets at the question: why search the world to solve the riddle of your own heart?" –Dave Eggers

"Charming and disarming… a wonderful exploration of the stories we tell ourselves." –Sally Singer, T: The New York Times Style Magazine

“A witty, deeply felt memoir… an honest, incisive grappling with the brute fact… that we only have one life to live… sparkles with tight, nearly aphoristic observations." –Michael Washburn, The Boston Globe

“Nail[s] our collective anxiety—every sentence rings true… Lewis-Kraus is a master.” –Daily Beast

"A Sense of Direction continually swings between the smart, verbose style of an overextended email and thoughtful meditations on how an individual self is patched together from various identities–religious, nationalistic, educational and temperamental, even identities forged in companionship."–Wall Street Journal

“Gorgeously written… [Lewis-Kraus is] aimless, sure, but meticulously, obsessively, beautifully so.” –Menachem Kaiser, The Rumpus

“A young writer seeks a cure for his fecklessness by following roads very much taken in this scintillating travel memoir… Lewis-Kraus’s vivid descriptive powers and funny, shaggy-dog philosophizing [yield] an entertaining, thoughtful portrait of a slacker caught up in life’s quest for something.” –Publishers Weekly

“If David Foster Wallace had written Eat, Pray, Love, it might have come close to approximating the adventures of Gideon Lewis-Kraus. A Sense of Direction is the digressively brilliant and seriously hilarious account of a fellow neurotic's wanderings, and his hard-won lessons in happiness, forgiveness, and international pilgrim fashion.” –Gary Shteyngart

“This is a brilliant meditation on what the spiritual and fraternal and paternal and communal might mean to a person right now, fueled as it is by the funny, thorny, dreamy, generous, cranky, rigorous, truth-seeking voice of Gideon Lewis-Kraus.  For the sake of whatever force or idea or feeling sustains you, make a pilgrimage to your nearest bookstore and buy the goddamn book.” –Sam Lipsyte