The Cloister

The Cloister

by James Carroll


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385541275
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/06/2018
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 184,701
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

JAMES CARROLL is the author of twelve novels and eight works of nonfiction. He lives in Boston with his wife, the writer Alexandra Marshall.

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Excerpted from "The Cloister"
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Copyright © 2019 James Carroll.
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The Cloister: A Novel 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
They are most unlikely bedfellows. An American Catholic priest and a French Jewess escaped from the holocaust. Both shackled with guilt from the past. They meet in the Cloisters museum in Inwood New York where she works as a guide and he is seeking shelter from the rain. They talk, spar with each other, back away from each other. Tantalized, they continue to seek each other out. A modicum of trust develops and each reveals small parts of the past that holds a « death grip » on their lives. The Cloister, a space for confiding, invites remembering. The couple is intertwined in this book with another unlikely couple : the medieval philosopher/priest ,Peter Abelard, and his young student, Heloise. James Carroll deftly entwines the trials and tribulations of the famous 12 century religious couple with those of the modern (1950’s) priest and French Jewess. The lives of the former parallel and inform those of the latter. In both cases, the attraction begins with the intellect, with verbal jousting as each prods the other to think anew, regard the past anew. « The first coupling is the coupling of the mind », says Carroll. For Peter Abelard, excommunicated for his belief in a God of love and forgiveness, including forgiveness of Jews who crucified Christ, reason trumps orthodoxy. The American priest, embracing Abelard’s thinking, uncovers the lie that has haunted him for years: the real reason for his friend’s hasty departure from the seminary and his own role in what happened. He abandons the Church if not his belief in God. Tender, poetic, full of compassion for his characters, James Carroll, a former priest himself, demonstrates a mind boggling grasp of history, theology, language and human nature in « Cloister ». A laser beam of intelligence couched in a generous sou Megdis
sandrabrazier More than 1 year ago
As Father Kavanagh is giving out holy communion one Sunday, he sees a ghost from his past. There, before him, stands his friend from the seminary. Anxious to meet his friend, he hurries out of the church after mass, to find no trace of him. As he walks the streets to try to find him, he takes shelter from the rain in The Cloisters, a museum. Here, he meets Rachel, a tour guide with an interesting past. A Jew, she was once in the concentration camps. The story vacillates between Kavanagh’s and Rachel Vedette’s stories, as well as that of Peter Abelard’s, the monk and scholar of the twelfth century, whom they both study. This is an intriguing story. However, there is so much explanation of theology mixed in with the story, that I found it extremely slow-moving. I guess I was just looking for an exciting story, rather a dissertation on theology. I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.