God Through Binoculars

This week’s other featured book, “Depression Hates a Moving Target,” by God through Binoculars: A Hitchhiker at a MonasteryNita Sweeney, can be found by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking the author’s name on our Authors page. Also, check out last week’s featured books, “Mr. Neutron,” by Joe Pinepinto and “Natalie’s Wars,” by Paul Castellani.


THE BOOK: God Through Binoculars: A Hitchhiker at a Monastery.


THE AUTHOR: Danusha Goska.

THE EDITOR: Christine Cote.


SUMMARY: Sick, broke, and apparently doomed, I decided to take a monastery retreat before killing myself. I had to hitchhike to the Holy Cross Monastery in Berryville, Virginia, because I had no car and the monastery was off the beaten track. A 2005 summer solstice heat wave paved my path with sweat. Binoculars slung around my neck introduced me to the local bird life. I wanted answers and I wanted
them now, dammit, but the monk I confessed to was deaf. And yet in these silent seven days I heard, loud and clear, messages that I can only interpret as coming from God. Dyslexic, with a dark sense of humor, but God nonetheless.

Image result for Danusha Goska + author + photosWhat else? Nature. Lots of it, from hyenas to ravens to nematodes. Love, none of it conventional. Family history, the Ivory Tower, and enough political incorrectness to make you want to throw the book across the room.

God through Binoculars might be found on the same shelves as Eat, Pray, Love, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. It will be appreciated by those who follow The Moth Radio Hour, a radio program featuring intimate, idiosyncratic, true stories.

THE BACK STORY: The events at the monastery were so astounding I had to write them down. I sent the completed account to a handful of friends, and they all responded in the same way. “When are you going to publish this?” Never, I thought, it’s all too weird, personal, and idiosyncratic. I put the pages away. My sister died after a long illness in 2105, and, to renew my joie de vivre, I took the pages out  and worked on them. I sent the edited pages to friends and they again said, “You must publish this!”

WHY THIS TITLE: The book addresses nature through spirituality, and spirituality through nature. God, to the extent that He is visible, is seen “through binoculars,” through the natural world. This natural world is sometimes gorgeous and life-affirming, and sometimes pee-in-your-pants nightmarish. And then there are those dastardly, trickster ravens, flying upside-down. Hyenas make me see theodicy and the problem of evil in a whole new way, and I hope the reader will share my amazement and reflection.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: Big questions, an attempt to record one seeker’s answers, and humor.


“God Through Binoculars blew me away. Goska has written a truly unique and remarkable work – gripping, tragic, eclectic, powerful, and empowering.” – Rabbi Dr. Natan Slifkin, Director, The Biblical Museum of Natural History, author, “The Torah Encyclopedia of the Animal Kingdom”

“The author, an avid birdwatcher, describes the world she transverses with such detail that the reader plays not the role of observer but the role of companion. I especially enjoyed the nature scenes which encompass a broad range of subject matter from hyenas to ‘stubby-looking sparrows.’ If you have suffered hardships in your life and had difficulty moving past them, I would strongly recommend you read this book. I think we all have an inner strength lurking beneath our skins and reading this book may help you to harness that strength.” – Jeanne Piquet, Amazon reviewer.

“The similarities with Annie Dillard’s ‘Pilgrim at Tinker’s Creek’ are striking—but Goska, unlike the privileged Dillard, tells a story more likely to resonate with the average reader. In lush but accurate prose, Goska describes both the beauty (a bird’s exquisite anatomy, say) and brutality (hyena siblicide, say) of nature. I marveled at the ease with which she moved from nature writing to penetrating insights into the Torah, the New Testament, Buddhist texts, and folktales.” – Liron Rubin,

“Goska has crafted a book with layers of keen insights on topics ranging across the anatomy of hyenas, peregrine falcons, the nuances of hitchhiking, an unblinkingly candid blue-collar family memoir, the grim faces of Mesoamerican art, Catholicism, Judaism, the perils of life as an adjunct academic, the pleasures of serious birdwatching, a primer on clear writing and, of course, the mechanics of the spiritual retreat at Holy Cross Abbey.” – Van Wallach, Times of Israel.

“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.” – Dr. Morton A. Goldberg, Veterinarian and Project Gutenberg volunteer.

“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 of “White Field, Black Sheep”

“The great books about spiritual journeys never give you easy answers. They don’t say ‘Do these 10 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 of “Echoes of Tattered Tongues” Montaigne Medal recipient.

AUTHOR PROFILE: Danusha Goska is a writer and teacher living in New Jersey.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: Buy my book or the kitten gets it.




PRICE: $20.95


Published by


Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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