A native of Alamogordo, NM, Florence Byham Weinberg traveled extensively with her military family during World War II. Travels continued after marriage to scholar-critic Kurt Weinberg in Canada, France, Spain and Germany. After earning her PhD, she taught for twenty-two years at St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY, and ten at Trinity University, San Antonio.
Anselm: A Metamorphosisby Florence Byham Weinberg
Cocky young Professor Eric Behrens curses the world and wishes he were someone, anyone, else. He trips, is knocked out, and wakes in the body of a middle-aged, overweight Benedictine monk
Christians believe the spirit survives the body. The philosopher René Descartes equated mind and spirit and tried to prove them totally separable from the body. Are they?
Cocky young Professor Eric Behrens curses the world and wishes he were someone, anyone, else. He trips, is knocked out, and wakes in the body of a middle-aged, overweight Benedictine monk with a severe heart defect. He must survive in an alien environment and in a defective body, while trying to "go home again."
"Anselm: a Metamorphosis by Florence Byham Weinberg plays upon an ancient longing as well as ancient fears. What is it like, it asks, to wake up as another person, unrecognizable even to those closest to one, being in all but one way wholly new to oneself? That one way is an abiding sense of self-identity. In a fascinating tour de force, this novel follows the sudden change in the identity of a carefree young English professor into a middle-aged priest by exploring many layers of his consciousness...
A fantasy? Of course. Unreality? No. Instead of removing himself and becoming another, the searching protagonist of Anselm achieves a sense of his true identity that had been closed to him before."
~ Ralph Freedman, author of Hermann Hesse, Pilgrim of Crisis
- Paladin Timeless Books
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.53(d)
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When I began reading this book, I felt I would be disappointing the author… But, amazingly, it began picking up in intrigue, then a mystery began, then downright injustice!! I was hooked! I no longer could put it down. It holds the reader in suspense until the very end! The story begins with Professor Eric Behrens in the Deans office for an appointment not made by him. He soon discovered the reason and was furious! As he met with his best friend and colleague, soon after, he shouted a declaration to the sky he lived to regret. From there he began a humbling, disheartening, desperate plight. Can he really accept this as his life? There must be a way to change it! The author was very successful in capturing her audience. The subject matter was nothing like the first few pages appeared to be. However, the book cover portrays the story very well. At first I was very skeptical when I saw the cover. It didn’t appear very interesting of a book…I was certainly mistaken! A “roller-coaster” chain of events play havoc on ones emotions. The development of the characters are so precise that the reader feels he/she knows them. The scenes are equally impressive and places the reader in that particular place described. This has earned its Five Star rating that I give in the review of this book. This book was sent to me by the author for an honest review, of which I have given.
The art of speculative fiction is to make the impossible believable. Asimov said, you can make one impossible assumption, then keep everything else real. For him, the assumption was faster than light travel. For Florence Weinberg, it’s an evil person exchanging bodies with someone else. The person doing the Faustian bargain is Anselm, a Benedictine monk of great erudition, but also great arrogance. Many fear him and dislike him. His heart is failing, so he uses a 12th Century lost secret to steal a body, changing places with Eric Behrens, young vain English professor. I won’t reveal the rest of the plot of course, but instead give you my assessment. When I read a book, I can’t stop myself from reading like an editor. Many of my reviews lead to 5 pages of “suggestions for improvement” to the author, ranging from identification of major plot glitches to misplaced commas. On a technical level, this book is one of the best I’ve read, with less than a page of such notes. I am blown away by the characterization. It’s immensely impressive how a female author can BE a man who has been turned into another man, and accurately portray both sets of feelings, emotions, psychological styles of being. Eric-in-Anselm is very real, very human, and admirable precisely because of his faults. His development during the book is completely believable yet impressive. All the minor characters are also three-dimensional, human and unique. Once I started this book, I just wanted to keep reading, and had to use self-discipline to carry on with my various obligations. Even with such rationing, I completed it in two days. So, if you pick it up, give yourself the opportunity to finish it. Any good book does far more than entertain. Anselm also educates (I was not surprised that the author has a Ph.D.), and inspires to take a stand in the eternal conflict between Dark and Light. Ultimately, the book is about the ultimate Lesson: only love can defeat evil. Do yourself a favor and read it.
Anselm: a Metamorphosis is an absolutely delightful romp through very esoteric terrain. On one level, the story of Eric Behrens, an emotionally superficial academic transformed into Father Anselm, carries the reader along as a mystery. We want to know what becomes of him. Weinberg’s story telling ability is filled with details that make the story a delight to read. At the very same time, the story asks some age old questions that are answered differently depending on when the questions are asked and who is doing the asking. Are the body and soul separate? Is the mind the same as the soul? Are good and evil separate, with some of us being good people and evil existing in the “other?” In this current day and age, with Western psychology focused on integration of mind and body and with a focus on the interrelationship between culture and psyche, the questions can be asked differently. How is the mind grounded in the body of a person? And, in this story, how can Anselm use his new body to learn about himself? How are good and evil potentially possible in each of us? Can Anselm use his new found body and his new found culture, the monastery, to learn more about his own negative aspects? As he does, can he also heal the split between one culture and another for himself? And, of course, what happens to any of us who only follow our own worst choices? Weinberg’s incredibly sophisticated and detailed use of literature, languages and psychology, in addition to her story-telling skill, create a fun story with much depth as well.