Valentine by Chet Raymo, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Valentine: A Love Story

Valentine: A Love Story

by Chet Raymo
     
 

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Little is known about Valentine, whose name symbolizes romantic love. Chet Raymo draws on the tradition that Valentine was a physician in love with the blind Julia to thread his way through the fabric of romance while illuminating the world of the Roman Empire of Claudius II—a time when Christian deaths provided public entertainment. The ideas in Valentine are

Overview

Little is known about Valentine, whose name symbolizes romantic love. Chet Raymo draws on the tradition that Valentine was a physician in love with the blind Julia to thread his way through the fabric of romance while illuminating the world of the Roman Empire of Claudius II—a time when Christian deaths provided public entertainment. The ideas in Valentine are startlingly relevant to our own times: globalization vs. fundamentalism, reason vs. superstition, the subversion of virtue by wealth—and the power of passionate love to overcome all obstacles to its consummation.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In his first novel since The Dork of Cork (1993), Raymo imagines the life of the patron saint of lovers, St. Valentine, about whom very little is known. Narrated by Julius Marius Favus, a gladiator trainer-turned-Roman jailor, and interspersed with letters between Valentine and a friend, the story unfolds of Valentine's training as a doctor and his falling in love with Julia, the blind daughter of Julius. As a young man, Valentine flees his home in Cyrenaica after impregnating the daughter of a wealthy Apollonian merchant. Soon, he becomes entangled with the wife of a powerful Roman. As Julius switches back and forth to different times in Valentine's life, a detailed portrait emerges of the plague-ridden, bloodthirsty Roman Empire and the theological wranglings of the early Christian church. Raymo, professor emeritus of physics and astronomy at Stonehill College in Massachusetts, pens some lovely scenes, including one in which Valentine muses over the seeming randomness of life and death. Raymo's details are rich and precise, and his vocabulary often erudite. Valentine moves from seeing Christianity as a "cult of weakness and shame" to a desire to be remembered as "having nudged mankind away from fear and superstition." Fans of historical literary fiction should find this novel an absorbing read. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Roman physician Valentine first encounters Julia the day he assists at her birth. The baby girl is born blind and would normally have been allowed to die, but for love of the child's dead mother, her father, prison overseer Julius Marius Favus, raises her to the best of his ability. When Valentine is arrested following the death of his powerful patron's son, he is thrown into Favus's prison. There he again meets Julia, who has grown into a beautiful young woman and a follower of the despised Christian sect. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, three different Valentines were actually martyred during the early days of the Christian Church, but very little is known about any of them. Thus, Raymo (The Dork of Cork) has chosen to disregard traditional lore regarding the patron saint of love and has created his own tale, doing a credible job of blending history and storytelling in this very readable albeit somewhat lightweight novel. Recommended for public libraries where there is a strong interest in Christian fiction.
—Jane Henriksen Baird

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781561012862
Publisher:
Cowley Publications
Publication date:
02/28/2007
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
300
Product dimensions:
5.64(w) x 8.79(h) x 1.06(d)

Meet the Author

Chet Raymo is professor emeritus of physics and astronomy at Stonehill College in Massachusetts. He is teacher, naturalist, and former science columnist for the Boston Globe.

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