Knowledge of Angels

Knowledge of Angels

4.6 3
by Jill Paton Walsh, Jill P. Walsh
     
 

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Praised by Ursula K. Le Guin as a "disturbing and beautiful novel of ideas," Knowledge Of Angels is an absorbing read that explores timeless conflicts between tolerance and moral certainty, between loving kindness and murderous cruelty. Capturing the mood of William Golding's haunting medieval love story, The Spire, Knowledge Of Angels is a

Overview

Praised by Ursula K. Le Guin as a "disturbing and beautiful novel of ideas," Knowledge Of Angels is an absorbing read that explores timeless conflicts between tolerance and moral certainty, between loving kindness and murderous cruelty. Capturing the mood of William Golding's haunting medieval love story, The Spire, Knowledge Of Angels is a suspenseful fable set on a mythical island in the time of the Inquisition, a time of unquestionable and unquestioned faith and unmerciful justice. The fable spins a tale of two outcasts: a wild, flesh-eating wolf child and a foreign prince, captured separately and taken to the cardinal prince of the island. The wolf girl is remanded to a nunnery, where her caretakers are ordered to teach her to speak but not to speak of God, so that the cardinal can ask her if God exists. On her answer depends the life of the heretic prince, condemned because he does not believe in God. The federal creature and the elegant paladin are used as pawns by the town's religious council to answer the question of whether or not believing in God is an inherent part of being human.

"[Its] lapidary prose leads the enchanted and unsuspecting reader from escapism to self- scrutiny."—The New Yorker.

"An illuminated and illuminating book [that] advances to a brilliant and relentless conclusion."—New York Newsday.

"A novel set in a time and place other than the here and now, but a novel of importance to the here and now-one that prompts us to grapple with the great questions of trust, faith, understanding. A soul-compelling book that will touch many readers deeply."—Robert Coles, author of The SpiritualLife Of Children.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the Middle Ages, a cardinal on a remote Mediterranean island tries to determine whether the appearance of a criminal and a girl raised by wolves are acts of angels in this novel, shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
Library Journal
In her first book for adults, veteran children's author Walsh deals with the quandaries that result when human try to come to grips with the divine. Set on an island off the coast of Europe during the Middle Ages, her novel revolves around a ``wild child'' rescued form wolves and a shipwrecked prince rescued from the sea only to be accused of heresy by the Inquisition. The prince, an atheist, will not compromise his beliefs to satisfy his accusers. The child is set up as a test case; if she, untaught, shows any awareness of God, the prince is condemned. Walsh's simple, direct prose paints pictures as bright and detailed as those in a medieval Book of Hours, and the plight of Prince Palinor, rescued from drowning only to face death by fire, is compelling. Readers who enjoy novels of ideas will find this a satisfying choice.-- Beth Ann Mills, New Rochelle P.L., N.Y.
School Library Journal
YA-A gripping, grim morality tale that's hard to put down and even harder to forget. It is set during a time of religious fervor on a Mediterranean island peopled with a wide variety of well-developed characters, including a lost prince, a child raised by wolves, and the priestly ruler. The island's proximity and ties to Rome are evident in the lives of the townspeople, clerics, nuns, monks, and even the servants. Christianity in its narrowest guise predominates, and the two islanders who are ``unknown,'' the wolf-child and the lost prince, are ultimately judged by these constricting standards. There are many likable characters, and there is much theological philosophy discussed in intriguing detail, mostly by a monk who contemplates what angels know and how they know it. There is also, however, a captivating plot. Be aware that this is far different from the spate of angel ``stuff'' that is out today, a darker but more encompassing description of ``the knowledge of angels.'' Although the ending is slightly disappointing, getting there is a compelling and thought-provoking journey, and well worth the trip.-Susan H. Woodcock, King's Park Library, Burke, VA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553374759
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/01/1995
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.32(w) x 8.21(h) x 0.83(d)

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Knowledge of Angels 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Picked for a book club discussion that lasted for hours, Walsh poses questions about how a wolf child or a stranger can prove the existence of God. It is powerful and haunting- the ending, ironically shocking and bittersweet. I highly recommend this book.