Wednesday, 21 December 2016

The Road To Purification: Hustlers, Hassles And Hash by Harry Whitewolf

The Road To Purification: Hustlers, Hassles And Hash by Harry Whitewolf
Self published in June 2014.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the ebook from /
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

How I got this book:
Downloaded the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'When Mad Harry spontaneously books a flight for Egypt, he doesn't know that he's about to embark on a fate given pilgrimage. In fact, he's not even sure why he's going, or what he's going to do when he gets there. All he knows is he's got to get away. Guided by signs in numbers, names and otherworldly encounters, Mad Harry's trip often seems to be a magical manifestation of his mind. A crazy headed, hassle driven, sleep deprived, dope smoking journey with non-stop tests of trust and temptation. A holiday this is not. This good humoured true story is told in a frank, rhythmic and playful voice. Set in 2010, shortly before the revolution, it's a backpacking odyssey through tremendous temples, towering pyramids, chaotic cities, small villages and dirty beaches, with a backdrop of ancient spiritual gnosis! A post-modern, pot smoking Egyptian pilgrimage...'

I love the rhythms and poetry of Whitewolf's writing throughout The Road To Purification. Much of his extraordinary life-changing journey is written in very short paragraphs which, in style, fit perfectly with the recounting of his broken-hearted and sleepless stoner month in pre-revolution Egypt. Whitewolf sees more than the average package holiday tourist would expect to encounter so we get to read an unusually skewed and shrewd view of Egypt and her people. He is armed with his trusty (and useless!) guidebook, but frequently chooses to place his faith in guidance from the Universe instead.

The spirituality in Whitewolf's previous travel memoir, Route Number 11 (my review here), often baffled me, but I found a much stronger affinity with his ideas here and appreciated statements such as 'Naming someone makes them real. It just depends what we mean by reality, and which reality we are living in.' His encounters with both darkness and light direct his Egyptian month and I could clearly see his personal and emotional growth as the weeks progress. This book is as much about a mental journey as it is a physical one. That said, we do also see several of Egypt's most famous historical sites through backpacker eyes. I don't think I would have the stamina for so much haggling though. It seemed as though there is no such thing as a fixed fare in Egypt!

The Road To Purification takes place along many roads. There is a lot of mild drug use described so if you are opposed to that, this isn't the book for you! However, if you appreciate off-beat accounts of independent travel or unorthodox ideas of spirituality and faith appeal to you then I think, like me, you would find this an interesting memoir to experience.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Harry Whitewolf / Travel books / Books from England


  1. Harry Whitewolf has written a lovely post about Literary Flits on his Goodreads page :-) Thanks Harry!

  2. I don't read memoirs often, but this sounds like a really good one. I feel so attracted to a good writing style and this promises that and more. Glad you could love it so much <3

    1. I think Harry's being a poet has a great influence on his prose writing

  3. ReejecttIIon - a number two, Harry Whitewolf's collaborative book with Daniel Clausen, is jam packed with short stories, skits, titbits and other nonsense, and to celebrate it being one year old, it's now free on Kindle for five days (23rd - 27th February), so grab a copy now!
    Amazon UK
    Amazon US

  4. Harry Whitewolf is interviewed on the Losing The Plot podcast. Listen here:

  5. Harry Whitewolf is offering All his books for free on Amazon from the 27th June to the 1st July 2018.