The Book of Margery Kempeby Mark Schroeder
Janie Radcliffe is a brilliant yet introverted editor of seventeenth-century poetry and literature. Given to hearing voices from the past, and woefully out of step with her own time, she lives a cloistered, humdrum existence, until her world suddenly changes when her impresario boss, London publisher Bill Avery, asks her to take a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Her… See more details below
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Janie Radcliffe is a brilliant yet introverted editor of seventeenth-century poetry and literature. Given to hearing voices from the past, and woefully out of step with her own time, she lives a cloistered, humdrum existence, until her world suddenly changes when her impresario boss, London publisher Bill Avery, asks her to take a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Her assignment is to walk in the footsteps of Margery Kempe, the author of the first autobiography in English, and the most well-known, and least understood, Christian mystic in all of Western literature.
The Book of Margery Kempe is a moving portrait of pilgrimage, of how one must pass through the dark night of the soul and confront the demons of the past in order to acquire self-knowledge. Modeling her behavior after that of Margery and the “mystical heroines of the past,” Janie endures fasting, mortification, and other hardships until, finally, she emerges from her pilgrimage on a foreign shore, a triumphant and translucent woman ready to shape her own destiny.
Combining the dramatic intensity of Lars von Trier’s Breaking the Waves with the lyrical prose of Colum Mccann’s Zoli, The Book of Margery Kempe questions the belief that God and self are easily known. Janie’s story is one that depicts the trials and tribulations demanded of those who would seek to know the “flame within.” In so doing, the work asks readers how much they are willing to give up to do the same.
- Mark Schroeder
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Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite The Book of Margery Kempe: A Novel by Mark Schroeder revolves around a spiritual theme. Janie Radcliffe takes a pilgrimage to Jerusalem from her closed existence as per the wishes of her boss. Her assignment is to walk in the footsteps of Margery Kempe, a Christian mystic. Janie finds her own destiny becoming shaped and she also fights the demons of her past while undertaking this journey - a journey of self discovery. Janie Radcliffe's story is that of a woman who has given all of herself and been borne away by the currents of love to become translucent. Janie's journey is not easy. She endures a lot of hardship before she find her own peace. The story has a mystical touch and it is an interesting read for those drawn to religion, mysticism and philosophy. The book is uplifting and inspirational and will motivate readers to form a connection with their own spirituality. Though the theme of the book is religious, it will fascinate readers with its positive vibe and profound thoughts. There is something very lyrical and surreal about the style of writing too, which makes it an engaging read. The author has researched well and written an extremely engrossing novel which readers will like. Though the story is religious, the struggles of Janie Radcliffe will touch the hearts of both religious and non-religious readers. The journey of both Margery and Janie enable readers to connect with their own spirit in an intimate way.
The Book of Margery Kempe by Mark Schroeder unites the historical Christian Mystic, Margery Kempe, with a modern day seeker, Janie Radcliffe, as each woman journies to find God. Schroeder's beautiful prose and poetic voice brings to life the inner Spirit of both Margery and Janie. As the story unfolds we encounter the sacrifices and intimacies that define a pilgrimage. This book will challenge the reader both to hear the voices of the past and to explore one's own depth of Soul. This is perhaps the best book I have read in years!