The Bread of Angels: A Journey of Love and Faith

The Bread of Angels: A Journey of Love and Faith

4.0 1
by Stephanie Saldana
     
 
A gorgeous, romantic memoir of a young woman's year in Damascus, where she studied the Muslim Jesus, fled to an ancient desert monastery to heal her past, and unexpectedly found herself in love with a French novice monk.

In 2004, twenty-seven-year-old Stephanie Saldaña traveled to Damascus, Syria, on a Fulbright fellowship to study the role of the

Overview

A gorgeous, romantic memoir of a young woman's year in Damascus, where she studied the Muslim Jesus, fled to an ancient desert monastery to heal her past, and unexpectedly found herself in love with a French novice monk.

In 2004, twenty-seven-year-old Stephanie Saldaña traveled to Damascus, Syria, on a Fulbright fellowship to study the role of the prophet Jesus in Islam. She was also fleeing a broken heart. It was not an ideal time to be an American in the Middle East-the United States had recently invaded Iraq, refugees were flooding into Damascus, and dark rumors swirled that Syria might be next to come under American attack. Miserable and lonely, Stephanie left Damascus to visit an ancient Christian monastery carved into the desert cliffs. In that beautiful, austere setting, she confronted her wavering faith and met Frederic, a young French novice monk. As they set out to explore the mysteries entwining Christianity and Islam, Stephanie slowly realized that she had found God again-and that she was in love with Frederic. But would Frederic choose God or Stephanie?

The Bread of Angels sweeps readers into the violent extremes of a war-torn region and renews their belief in faith, self-discovery, and the possibility of true love.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A pious, studious Fulbright scholar's year in Syria, learning about Christianity from the Muslim point of view. In 2004, Saldana arrived in Damascus, where she learned Arabic, studied the Quran, mingled with the micro-societies inhabiting the old city and frequented the Mar Musa monastery, where she rekindled her Christian faith. Raised in San Antonio, Texas, to a half-Mexican Catholic family with a history of manic depression and violence, Saldana fled to the Middle East after college, where she felt strangely safer. She reinvented herself as a journalist in Lebanon, before moving back stateside to attend Harvard Divinity School. The author arrived in Damascus during the second Iraq war, as U.S. bombs were dropping on Baghdad, yet she received no hostility from the denizens of the Christian quarter Bab Touma, where she found a room off Straight Street. She happily ensconced herself in this "neighborhood of exiles," full of Assyrians, Palestinians and Iraqis fleeing violence, and befriended the shopkeepers, recognizing soon that her medieval Arabic was unusable and laughable. Yet taking a practical language class at Damascus University only yielded tedious sentences full of current terminology like "guns," "bombs," "politics" and "explosion." A month's stint undergoing rigorous spiritual exercises at the Mar Musa monastery plunged her into meditation on what her calling was-to become a nun, or a writer? Ultimately, she resolved to engage in the "messiness" of life, and fell in love with a young French monk, Frederic. In the second half of her memoir, the author chronicles her apprenticeship under a famous teacher of the Quran. This "lesson in personal humility" is the most affecting partof the book, and the American author's reading of the Quran in Arabic proves gracious and moving. A beautifully woven exploration of language and spirituality. Agent: Judy Heiblum/Sterling Lord Literistic

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781441729118
Publisher:
Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
02/28/2010
Edition description:
Unabridged
Pages:
9
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

STEPHANIE SALDAÑA grew up in Texas and received her B.A. from Middlebury College and a master's degree from Harvard Divinity School. Fascinated by Islam and Eastern Christianity, she has lived in cities throughout the Middle East, including a year in Beirut working as a journalist for the English-language newspaper The Daily Star. She was a Watson and a Fulbright scholar and has won several awards for her poetry. She lives in Jerusalem.

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The Bread of Angels: A Journey of Love and Faith 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
In Bread of Angels Stephanie Saldana spends a year studying Arabic in Damascus. She starts out lonely and lost about what she wants to do with her life. Her Arabic studies are difficult to say the least and she soon learns that the archaic Arabic she is learning to study the Quran is all but useless in the streets. 9/11 happens and the the US invades Iraq, making it a bad time to be an American in Syria. Eventually Stephanie retreats to a beautiful and ancient Christian monastary in the desert where she confronts her crisis of faith head on and falls in love with a French novice monk. Bread of Angels is the best kind of memoir, unflinchingly honest with the clearer vision of hindsight. Stephanie writes of the places she traveled with stunning descriptions but it is the people she introduces who will stay with you and feel like friends by the end. I felt I knew her crazy landlord, the Iraqi artist she befriends, and the amazing women in the mosque who she teaches English to. The story is part travelogue, part spiritual quest, and part love story and I really enjoyed it. I listened to the audio version of this book. It was beautifully and expressively read by Cassandra Campbell. This is one of those narrations that is so spot-on its hard to believe it isn't the author telling you the story herself as you sip glasses of tea together.