Cloister (Carroll) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
The Cloister poetically pingpongs between Abelard’s abbey in Saint-Denis in the 1100s, elsewhere in France during and after World War II, and Upper Manhattan in the early 1950s.… Carroll weaves a patchwork of disparate threads, threads unraveled from clerical vestments, that, when quilted together, spell out the single word that the book embodies.… Incandescent.
New York Times

In The Cloister, Carroll has produced a sweeping, beautifully crafted book–perhaps his best yet.
Wall Street Journal

A literary detective game.… In pushing his readers–in both his fiction and nonfiction–to ponder tough religious topics.… Carroll is continuing the important discussions made famous by Peter Abelard.
New York Journal of Books

James Carroll’s latest novel vibrates with deep compassion and religious intensity.
Christian Science Monitor

[A] heartbreaking blend of history and fiction. In 1142… the aging Abbess Heloïse finds the dead body of her former lover, Peter Abelard. This story line is woven together with the 1950 story of Father Michael Kavanagh…and Rachel Vedette, a museum docent.… [A] very magnetic, satisfying novel.
Publishers Weekly

The connection between the moral dilemmas of the two ages is muddy, and the alternating narratives slow the momentum. Still, this is a book of heart, with serious questions asked about faith, obedience, and love. —David Keymer, Cleveland
Library Journal

Fascinating in its evocation of the twelfth-century Catholic Church in France, this lavishly detailed historical novel serves as an education in historical philosophy, a poignant tale of devoted love, and a portrait of a postwar human crisis influenced heavily by both.… [T]hought-provoking.

Of faith, doubt, and sorrow: Carroll delivers another religiously charged novel, and a fine one at that..… You don't have to be Catholic—or Jewish, for that matter—to appreciate Carroll's story, though it probably helps. A rich, literate tale well told.
Kirkus Reviews

A novel that shifts seamlessly between epic love story, the anatomy of a crisis of faith, family tragedy and trauma survival saga.… Both moving and enlightening, The Cloister will engross readers.
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