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God through Binoculars: A Hitchhiker at a Monastery

by Danusha Goska

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A spiritual memoir and travelogue, God through Binoculars: A Hitchhiker at a Monastery is about where you go when you have nowhere left to go. After a difficult childhood and a series of tragedies and misfortunes, author Danusha Goska finds herself without hope for the future. Supported by her passion for travel and discovery, as well as her commitment to Catholicism, Goska decides on a retreat at a remote Cistercian monastery. What results is a story about family, friends, nature, and God; the Ivory Tower and the Catholic Church. God through Binoculars is utterly naked and, at times, politically incorrect. Some readers will be shocked. Others will be thrilled and refreshed by its candor, immediacy, and intimacy. Her previous, highly-rated book, Save Send Delete, was enormously well-received, and readers will find that Goska's ability to tell a masterful story with a powerful message continues in God through Binoculars.

RELIGION / Christianity / Catholic
RELIGION / Spirituality

ISBN: 978-1-947067-61-5 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
ISBN: 978-1-947067-62-2 (digital)

LCCN: 2018961899

Released 12-1-2018

272 pages

Author Biography

Danusha Goska was born in New Jersey to peasant immigrants from Poland and Slovakia. Her grandfathers were coal miners. Her dad mined coal as a child and fought in the Pacific Theater in World War II. Her mom cleaned houses and worked in a candle factory. Danusha has lived and worked in Africa, Asia, Europe, on both coasts, and in the heartland, of the US. She holds an MA from the University at California, Berkeley, and a PhD from Indiana University, Bloomington. Her writing has been awarded a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Grant, the PAHA Halecki Award, and others. Reviewers have called her work “inspirational” and “groundbreaking.” Her book Save Send Delete was inspired by her relationship with a prominent atheist. Julie Davis, author of Happy Catholic, called Save Send Delete one of the ten best books of the year.


"A witty, provocative, and thoroughly engaging memoir about the difficulties of faith, the complexities of love, and the consolations often found in nature. Whether she’s writing about hyenas or jihad, hitchhiking or the perils of political correctness, Goska is always interesting. I loved this book!”
Daiva Markelis, author, White Field, Black Sheep: A Lithuanian-American Life

“As unsparing as it is tender, this book is a high-octane lyric meditation by a larger-than-life soul. Amid a multitude of coincidences, controversies, and calamities, the reader is invited to laugh, grieve, ponder, take exception, and especially, take heart.”
Claire Bateman, author, Locals: A Collection of Prose Poems; grant recipient, National Endowment for the Arts

“The great books about spiritual journeys never give you easy answers. They don’t say ‘Do these ten things and you will find peace or faith or salvation.’ Goska knows this truth. She has lived this truth. As you read her beautifully written, witty, and inspiring book, you will find yourself not only following her journey, you will find yourself living your own journey.”
John Guzlowski, author and Montaigne Medal recipient, Echoes of Tattered Tongues: Memory Unfolded

“A moving, inspiring, heartfelt expression of love, pain, and healing, skillfully written with equal amounts of grace and compassion.”
Larry Dossey, physician and author, One Mind

“I read God through Binoculars the way I read everything that I enjoy or that interests me: at increasingly breakneck speed. I finished it this morning and plan to begin again, reading more slowly and thoroughly for the subtler bits. The two writers this book reminded me of most were Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen. They also have an edginess and a sense of putting themselves out there without giving a damn what others think.”
Julie Davis, author, Happy Catholic: Glimpses of God in Everyday Life

“Goska reminds every birder and nature lover that they are connected spiritually to the birds they see and the experiences they have outdoors. Our souls and hearts are refreshed and renewed by allowing ourselves to understand in some small way that we are connected to something in nature that is ancient and forever.”
Don Torino, naturalist, Wild Birds Unlimited; president, Bergen County Audubon Society

“Impossible to put down. Goska is a true original, a gifted writer and an even more gifted spiritual explorer. Like her previous book, Save, Send, Delete, this one displays a remarkable range of philosophical and religious knowledge, accompanied by profound insights that will stay with a reader long after they are encountered. Goska has packed more experience into each one of her years on this earth than most of us will in a lifetime. I urge you to give a look at this irresistible journey of faith in search of answers.”
David Horowitz, author, Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey

“Goska is one of the very few writers whose words I’m impelled to read, words that pull me forward the way being roped to a runaway horse might.”
Charles Adès Fishman, winner, 2012 New Millennium Award for Poetry

“An effortlessly wise voyage, not only into the human soul but also into some fundamentals of the Western tradition. Goska is a formidable writer who combines sensitivity and kindness with extraordinary toughness, and her vigorous prose reflects this unusual combination. Her prose grabs you and does not let you go.”
Dario Fernández-Morera, author, The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise; associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese and comparative literature, Northwestern University

“Danusha Goska is a walker, an observer, a thinker. This pilgrimage-in-a-book reminds me of Paolo Coelho in its thrust and scope. But Coelho merely walked the camino; Goska walks the byways of the world, from rural Virginia to the wilderness of Asia. Always questioning, always seeking, Goska shows us the profound in every living being, from hyenas to humans. If you are willing to accompany her on this journey, you will be changed yourself.”
Brian O’Broin, author, Thógamar le Gaeilge Iad, professor of linguistics and medieval literature, William Paterson University

“Goska is a true wordsmith, a writer you enjoy reading for the prose as well as the imagination and education. Moving from thought to thought and scene to scene in no obvious order, you later realize the grand plan underneath it all, the coherent worldview that shapes how she appraises her experiences. And unlike secular writers of similar works, she is able not only to be romantic about life’s rich variety, but to ground it in the good God of revelation. That combination of orthodox faith, humorous observations of eccentric people and moments, and practical philosophy is rare in contemporary writing.”
Rev. Evan McClanahan, producer and host, Sin Boldly podcast

“An inspiring and inspired read by one who has long since heard the music.”
Kevin Di Camillo, author, Now Chiefly Poetical; columnist, National Catholic Register

God through Binoculars is . . . complicated, just like the natural world Goska so compellingly describes; just like the spiritual insights she gleans from her well-traveled life. She is a committed monotheist who believes in evolution, but expresses annoyance with Darwinist absolutes. She is awed by Mother Nature, but recognizes the random cruelties that play out within the wilderness. Through her binoculars, she observes a world constantly in flux, shaped and reshaped by variables that somehow work together in unbelievable complexity. Because of that complexity, she is skeptical about any ‘straight-line’ redemption of life’s disappointments by an all-loving God. Yet she believes that God is indeed all-loving, that her own burdens might not be lifted, but can be transmuted into blessings. If she can believe that, maybe even the greatest skeptics among us can too.”
Melanie Forde, author, Hillwilla and On the Hillwilla Road

“I always get the sense through Goska’s writings that God is all about us, that is, with us. In her writing of the simple things in life, you will find deeper meanings, feelings, and emotional connections that will widen your perspective on events, love, and loss. We are pulled out of ourselves long enough to see a fuller life of observational gravity that can be applied to our own experiences. Read this book. Learn another way to see beyond just looking.”
Edward “Rusty” Walker, artist; author, Transparent Watercolor

“Amazing. Ordinary situations brought to life. Observant, with a real wit. A pleasure to read!”
Brian Koral, blog reader

“Goska is brilliant with words, painting highly evocative pictures. She’s unafraid to explore emotional, spiritual, and philosophical frontiers. She’s been all over the world, learning about cultures from the inside. This book brings these gifts and experiences to bear on a personal journey to a place few readers know.”
Karen A. Wyle, author, Twin Bred

“A masterpiece. I couldn’t put it down. Goska has an incisive mind, an insatiable curiosity, and a captivating writing style. As a veterinarian, I particularly appreciated her colorful and informative writing about the animals she has encountered in her adventurous life.”
Morton A. Goldberg, veterinarian; volunteer, Project Gutenberg

“C. S. Lewis wrote in his great novel, Perelandra, that though ‘there seemed to be, and indeed were, a thousand roads by which a man could walk through the world, there was not a single one which did not lead sooner or later either to the Beatific or the Miserific Vision.’ Goska is a pilgrim walking the roads of this world and trying her best to follow the Spirit as he leads her at each fork in the road toward that ‘one Face above all worlds which merely to see is irrevocable joy.’”
Mark P. Shea, author, By What Authority? An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition

“Goska takes the reader on a remarkable journey, first encountering the personal and political corruption of academia in the soul-crushing age of political correctness, and then finding escape and finally restoration of spirit. This is no harangue or political manifesto, but rather a compelling tale of exploration and growth from a natural storyteller who just happens to illuminate the intellectual and moral issues of our age.”
Thomas Lifson, founder, publisher, and editor, American Thinker; former assistant professor, Harvard Business School

“All that Goska has done here is to give us a simple, straightforward account of a brief episode in her life. And yet she has captured something about the mystery of life and human interaction that is at once deep, moving, and universal.”
Bruce Bawer, author, Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity

“You catch a monkey, they say, with trinkets in a wide-bottomed, narrow-necked vase. The monkey inserts his paw, and opens it up to capture his treasure. When he tries to withdraw his fist, he can either hold on to the trinkets or let them go and free himself.
“Jesus invited, ‘Leave everything you have, and follow me!’ That might seem fairly easy for a pilgrim who can’t afford her own car. But even the poor must surrender.
“Goska’s monastery journey is a meditation on the deliberate opening of hands. With the slow freeing of each finger, another trinket is jettisoned and a new perspective is revealed. Nature provides her window to the divine: indigenous fruit, a hawk’s soar, and being arrested by an unlikely savior. This hero’s journey ends where she began, but as a new person, with a new vision.
“Goska is a bold spirit who has fine-tuned her soul to encounter grace in unlikely places. In the spirit of Flannery O’Connor, as well as the Beats, she is wonderfully refreshing. Her sensitivity to God’s possibilities is awe-inspiring. Step beyond predictability and embrace one heck of a ride!”
Deacon Kevin McCormack, co-host, WABC radio, Religion on the Line; principal, Xaverian High School; adjunct instructor of theology, Molloy College

God through Binoculars is a mesmerizing book. The primary narrative concerns the author’s visit to a monastery, but this is interspersed with reflections on the habits of hyenas, the spiritual defects of Meso-American art (Goska seems to like the hyenas better), the Holocaust, and a host of other subjects. The satirical account of her visit to the monastery makes the book worth reading all by itself. Fierce, hard-won, deep-rooted piety breathes through the snark. In an age of cutesy, feel-good memoirs with easy answers, this is the real thing: a book that brings you in touch with the restless, passionate intelligence of its author and forces you to think in a fresh way about every one of the many subjects it addresses.”
Edwin Woodruff Tait, writer, farmer, and consulting editor, Christian History magazine.

“Goska dares to ask the universally elusive questions: will any deity or doctrine fully suffice in this life? Is the duel beauty and brutality of nature and human interaction enough to fill our spiritual reservoirs? In examining the mysterious trifecta of God, the natural world, and human industry, Goska illustrates how a truly benevolent God would want us to experience the brutality of life along with the transcendence of beauty. Time and again her words illuminate the agony and the ecstasy of this life that ultimately inspire us towards love, awe, and wonder. Goska’s intellectual inquisition proves that the very acts of motion and inquiry are a kind of devotion all their own.”
Tina Schumann, editor, Two-Countries: U.S. Daughters and Sons of Immigrant Parents

“Goska finds goodness and moments of beauty and synchronicity amidst a world of hurt and oppression. Kindness and serendipity give her, and give the reader as well, hope for the future and a sense of religious wonder and faith. Birds are her passion, and her avian encounters — some downright magical — occur at just the right moments in her experience, offering tantalizing evidence of greater forces at work than can be explained by pure science or reason. Goska’s book is provocative, in-your-face, and uncompromising, all the trademarks of the author herself. It is bracing to read strongly-held opinions backed up by facts and evidence instead of feel-good but unsubstantiated politically correct writing. “
Marc J. Chelemer, New Jersey birder

Articles and Reviews

Danuta Reah, “God Through Binoculars: A Hitchhiker at a Monastery,” Dappled Things.

Daniel James Sharp, “God Through Blinkers: ‘God Through Binoculars’ by Danusha Goska,” Areo, January 29, 2021
“Ironically, despite her belief that life is ultimately meaningless without God, it is Goska’s gift for describing the beauty of life and the feelings of transcendence it invokes that makes this book so worth reading.”

Daria Sockey, “God through Binoculars,” Catholic Digest, May 2019.

John E. Rafferty, “God through Binoculars: A Brief Review,” American Thinker, April 13, 2019.

Filip Mazurczak, “A unique credo and affirmation of faith by a distinctive mind,” The Catholic World Report, March 11, 2019.

Julie Davis, God Through Binoculars by Danusha Goska,” Happy Catholic, February 22, 2019.

Jeffrey Miller, “Book Review: God Through Binoculars,” The Curt Jester, February 26, 2019.

Bruce Bawer, “God Through Binoculars: A Hitchhiker at a Monastery: A Beautiful Mind Produces a Luminous Memoir,” Frontpage, December 17, 2018.

Van "Ze'ev, "Wallach, “God (and Torah) on the Road to a Monastery,”  The Times of Israel, December 29, 2018.


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