To be honest, my heart sank a little when I received this; it looked like something more akin to a Dan Brown than I would normally read, but it was shortlisted for a Booker, so I persisted because I'm a snob. I was however surprised. It was relatively well written and I think based on some interesting ideas. The author clearly has an interest in philosophy of religion, linguistics and psychology (as do I). I think at times some of these ideas where portrayed a little clumsily (e.g., more substance over style), but all in all, quite nicely done. I felt the book faded towards the end, but it kept me going to that point.
I struggled with this book, am amazed it is an A level text. I have very limited interest in this period of history so it really didn't engage me at all, I just found it all a bit unbelievable, almost trying to be sensational at times.
I enjoyed this. It's a period I know little about and this hasn't given me the historical context but it has whetted my appetite to find out more. The philosophy I enjoyed and found thought provoking although I agree that the latter stages there were some philosophical musings which weren't terribly clearly expressed.
I did get a bit frustrated with the thinking and responses of Severo & Beneditx as it isn't at all how I would have talked with Palinor but that's a bit by the by. I thought there were some elements which could have been developed a little further, like Josefa's character which I thought lacked a bit of depth and left her as blandly sympathetic. Also, although the structure was obviously deliberate, I thought that setting Amara up as an experiment alongside Palinor meant that Amara's story was actually a bit too sketchy.
So thanks, I hadn't come across this and enjoyed it. If I hadn't been entertaining a bunch of pre schoolers rather too frequently, I might have finished it sooner!
I thought this was a wonderful book. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Sure, its flawed - a bit didactic and clumsy in places, a conversation between 2/3 people is hardly a novel or sophisticated way of expressing opposing views, but it still made me think!
I could hardly bear to read when Palinor was being tortured and was gutted when he confessed. The twist came later and towards the end of the book with Palinor under examination, Josefa coaching Amara on her responses, Beneditx crisis of faith, Jaime's re-emergence, the dying abbess and so on, it was pacy and absorbing.
The image of the moasic with the necessity of dark and light shades was a powerful example for me.
Just out of interest, I wonder if anyone reading the book did expect Amara to have had an innate knowledge of God. It is obviously a reflection of my own beliefs, but I had no doubt at all that she would say 'no'!
Great choice for a book swap, Rhinestone. Thanks. Have you read anything else of hers?
When I received this in the post I was a little disappointed as it I am ashamed to say did judge this book by the cover. However Once i started reading it a reallt enjoyed it. I would not have chosen this as a read but am thankful that Rhinestone did.
I thought the story of Amara was very though provoking in the thought that she might have know something before her life as the wolf girl. i like lightshine has no doubt that she would say no and was saddend when Joesfa coached her on her answers.
it was interesting the thought that Benditix was near the end questioning himself and his belief because of his talks with Palinor. I thought that Servero was really only carrying out his little experiments to please himself with no real thought to what the outcome may bring for those involved.
Reading the part where Palinor was being tortured was heart breaking as this was not meant to happen and the thought that in the past people have been hurt because of their belief ( well they still are to be honest) is eye opening. to be forced to say thy believe in something they don't is a horrendous thought. we are lucky to live in the here and now where what we do or don't believe in is no longer a crime.
Really welll written, i finished this book in no time at all which after my intial response surprised me. I am curios to find other novels by this author now.
I've tried hard with this book but afraid it just wasn't my cup of tea. I'm really sorry but I tried to keep an open mind but gave up about a third way through. I also got caught up with Xmas etc..and I didn't want to post on late so sent yesterday before finishing.