THE CONVENT by Panos Karnezis

n his latest book, THE CONVENT, Panos Karnezis hints at the ambiguity that underlies religious faith in the first sentence: Those who God wishes to destroy he first makes mad. (Does he mean mad as in furious? Or does God drive the damned crazy, first?) And so, when a baby boy appears in a suitcase on the doorstep of an isolated Spanish convent a few paragraphs later, I was ready to be led through an oscillating narrative (is he or isn’t he a miracle?), that explored the tensions between faith and reason, independence and obedience, progress and stasis inherent to organized religion. Unfortunately, that’s not the tale Karnezis delivers…

November 8, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Spain, World Lit

SACRED HEARTS by Sarah Dunant

In 16th-century Italy, a noblewoman of marriageable age had two choices: marriage and children, or reclusion to a convent. With the price of wedding dowries rising ever higher, most noble families could only afford to marry off one daughter. The rest, for a much-reduced dowry, went to the convent. But “not all went willingly,” author Sarah Dunant states in her preface, a deliciously ominous portent of the story to come.

July 23, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Facing History, italy