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The Wisdom of Donkeys

Finding Tranquility in a Chaotic World

Regular price $14.95 CAD
  • Sold Out! - Paperback / softback
  • ISBN: 9781553658306
  • Tags: Andrew Merrifield, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, Nature & Environment,
  • Published On: 01/05/2010
  • 240 Pages
  • ISBN: 9781553655305
  • Tags: Andrew Merrifield, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, Nature & Environment,
  • Dimensions: 5.125 x 7.75
  • Published On: 04/12/2010
  • 256 Pages

“This is Zen and the Art of Donkey Walking. I cannot imagine a more charming, informative, or restful book.” —Jim Crace, author of Being Dead and The Pesthouse.

With a new foreword by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas.

“Can a donkey be a philosopher? Merrifield believes so and, with this modest, lovely little book, makes us believe so, too.” —Booklist

In this enchanting book, Andrew Merrifield sets out on a journey of the soul with a friend’s donkey, through the crumbling ruins and spectacular vistas of southern France’s Haute-Auvergne. Along the way the understated nobility of Gribouille, his humble donkey companion, allows him to confront himself as well as to consider the larger mysteries of life. As Merrifield contemplates literature, science, truth, beauty, and the universality of nature 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. Traveling with Merrifield and Gribouille, we’re reminded of the exquisite benefits of nature, passive adventuring, and wild spaces. Also available in hardcover.

Andy Merrifield is the author of four previous books, including biographies of two twentieth-century French philosophers. He lives in France's Auvergne region.


"Following his own path, Merrifield seeks out the companionship of Gribouille, the dark brown donkey who would accompany him on his walk through the French countryside. Together they set off on an exploration of slow travel, purposefully taking a route less traveled with the full intention of enjoying each moment and never rushing to the next one . . . This is not a fast read, but rather like journey, one to be savoured and meditated on." -North Shore News

"If you yawn at the idea of a 240-page meditation on donkeys, then steel yourself for an adventure of positively equine proportions . . . Peppered with references to famous donkeys in literature . . . [Wisdom of Donkeys] book will give you a whole new appreciation - and respect - for these gentle, wise, and misunderstood animals." -Shared Vision

"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, the affecting and eloquent account of a man and a chocolate-colored donkey named Gribouille. Merrifield, author of important biocritical studies of Henri Lefebvre and Guy Debord, as well as Metromarxism: A Marxist Tale of the City, tells the tale of his wander through the Haute-Avergne in southern France, learning the ways of his patient, strong, and stubborn donkey companion, who gradually shows him that 'real happiness comes in unforeseen places, through surprising twists and turns, through honesty.' Highly recommended." -Library Journal

"Professor Andy Merrifield was chasing a dream when he moved from England to teach at a university in New York City, but, as he admitted recently, 'things didn't work out so well, I felt very lost.' So he went to live 'somewhere totally antithetical to [New York],' moving into a farmhouse in France's Auvergne region, an area known for its sought-after green lentils from Le Puy. Intending to slow down the pace of his life, he borrowed a friend's donkey and set out on foot through the countryside of southern France." -Macleans

"Slow is the new hot . . . As Merrifield learns, traveling with a donkey, famed for its stubbornness, means you must learn to practice patience . . . Merrifield and Gribouille amble through the French countryside, with the donkey attracting many interested observers and allowing Merrifield to connect with people he otherwise would never have met. And slowly, a love affair begins - between a man and a donkey." -Montreal Gazette

"Donkeys are misunderstood. At least, that's the impression left by Merrifield's gentle meditation on life, art, and the meaning of beauty, which crucially involves journeying through the hills of southern France and 'daydreaming in the open air' with floppy-eared Gribouille's faithful companionship . . . Can a donkey be a philosopher? Merrifield believes so and, with this modest, lovely little book, makes us believe so, too." -Booklist