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McGUIRE, Lawrence. A Pilgrimage to Ojai

A trilogy of novels

Saturday 26 November 2005, by ps

Vol. I: The Great American Wagon Road, 2001. 120 p. ISBN 1-58939-117-9

The Great American Wagon Road is the story of three completely different individuals who by chance find themselves traveling together to California.

First we meet Leatherwood, a drifting street musician with a mysterious, tragic past. He hitches a ride with Paul, a stiff academic on a spiritual quest. But everything changes when they cross paths with Lara, a Grateful Dead fan whois returning to the mainstream after two years on the road.

The book is first and foremost a compelling road narrative and a description of the dynamics of a sexual triangle. But the novel goes deeper, as it probes the classic themes of death, spirituality, love, and identity. Finally, it is an unforgettable rendering of the American Experience.

The Great American Wagon Road is Book One of the trilogy, A Pilgrimage to Ojai.

The Great American Wagon Road is the story of three completely different individuals who by chance find themselves traveling together to California.

First we meet Leatherwood, a drifting street musician with a mysterious, tragic past. He hitches a ride with Paul, a stiff academic on a spiritual quest. But everything changes when they cross paths with Lara, a Grateful Dead fan whois returning to the mainstream after two years on the road.

The book is first and foremost a compelling road narrative and a description of the dynamics of a sexual triangle. But the novel goes deeper, as it probes the classic themes of death, spirituality, love, and identity. Finally, it is an unforgettable rendering of the American Experience.

Vol. II: The Gathering at Big Sur. Virtualbookworm.com Publishing, 2003. 168 p.ISBN: 1589393287

Sex, drugs, radical environmentalism, communal drumming, wild dancing, nature worship and raging bonfires: Lara is thrown into the cauldron of the counterculture.Ensnared by affection. By dependency. By the ancient fear of being alone. Lara, a young woman in her early 20’s, finds herself in California traveling with two men: a hobo street musician named Leatherwood and Paul, an escapee from Graduate School obsessed with the writings of J. Krishnamurti.

Lara is romantically attracted to both men, but both are leading her away from her goal: return to normal society, get her college degree and begin her career. Lara makes the fateful decision to go with the two men to The Gathering at Big Sur, in the mountains near the California coast. In Lara’s humorous skeptical voice we share a young woman’s struggle to find personal freedom and independence. Lara tells a story seething with action and emotional conflict. Only by following her inner voice will she escape from a desperate situation.

The Gathering at Big Sur is Book Two of the trilogy, A Pilgrimage to Ojai. Book One, narrated by Leatherwood, is titled The Great American Wagon Road (also available through Virtualbookworm.com). And Book Three is Paul’s Ojai Journal. Each book is complete unto itself. However the three together form parts of a whole powerful story.

Vol. III: Paul’s Ojai Journal. To be published.

About the Author

"Lawrence McGuire was born in the southern Appalachian Mountains. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated with a History of Science degree. McGuire has traveled widely in the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Europe. He has worked as a folksinger, freelance-writer, and teacher. He is currently living and teaching in southern France and, in his free time, enjoys music, hiking, camping and reading."


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