The Cloister

The Cloister

From National Book Award-winning writer James Carroll comes a novel of the timeless love story of Peter Abelard and Heloise, and its impact on a modern priest and a Holocaust survivor seeking sanctuary in Manhattan.Father Michael Kavanagh is shocked to see a friend from his seminary days named Runner Malloy at the altar of his humble Inwood community parish. Wondering abou...

DownloadRead Online
Title:The Cloister
Author:James Carroll
Rating:

The Cloister Reviews

  • CoffeeandInk

    The Cloisters is a novel of ideas that made me feel as breathless and on edge as I do when reading a thriller. With masterful writing and pacing, the author creates two worlds for the characters to inhabit—1140s Paris and the scholastic sphere of the brilliant Peter Abelard and Heloise, and their inevitable, and separate, retreat from the world.

    How this all fits into Nazi occupied Paris, concentration camps, and on to post WWII New York City is an amazing literary feat. Entering this hall of mir

    The Cloisters is a novel of ideas that made me feel as breathless and on edge as I do when reading a thriller. With masterful writing and pacing, the author creates two worlds for the characters to inhabit—1140s Paris and the scholastic sphere of the brilliant Peter Abelard and Heloise, and their inevitable, and separate, retreat from the world.

    How this all fits into Nazi occupied Paris, concentration camps, and on to post WWII New York City is an amazing literary feat. Entering this hall of mirrors is the Catholic priest Kavanaugh and the Jewish docent for the Cloisters, Rachel. Rachel’s father is the link back to Abelard and Heloise, as before the war he was a scholar in Paris working on a study of Abelard’s work Dialogus inter philosophum, Judaeum, et Christianum, (Dialogue of a Philosopher with a Jew and a Christian) 1136–1139. She carries Abelard's book History of my Calamities with her wherever she goes. When the priest seeks the shelter of the Cloisters during a rainstorm, they fall into conversation, and she spontaneously hands it over to the priest.

    The themes of obligation and exploitation, retreat and annihilation, manipulation and survival are golden threads to follow through this labyrinth. A beautifully horrifying and shattering story.

    Thank you NetGalley and Doubleday. I'd give this novel 10 stars if I could.

  • Amy Gennaro

    I was given an advance copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review.

    WoW! An excellent book that tells the epic love story of Heloise and Abelard and the importance and context of Paul Abelard's teachings. The story moves between 12th century time of these lovers then tells the story of a father and daughter living in the Polish ghetto during World War II, and finally in a small Irish Catholic parish in New York City in the 1950's. I know that these stories don't really seem

    I was given an advance copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review.

    WoW! An excellent book that tells the epic love story of Heloise and Abelard and the importance and context of Paul Abelard's teachings. The story moves between 12th century time of these lovers then tells the story of a father and daughter living in the Polish ghetto during World War II, and finally in a small Irish Catholic parish in New York City in the 1950's. I know that these stories don't really seem to relate to one another, but the author uses these more modern stories to illustrate the impact of the teachings of Paul Abelard and how the Catholic church ignored them.

    I have long not understood how the Catholic church has long blamed Jews for the death of Jesus Christ. This will definitely give you insight into how this has been perpetrated through the years.

    It was extremeley well-written and flowed seemlessly between the stories. I could not put the book down. I heartily recommend this book!

  • Beth Cato

    I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley.

    A stunning book, beautifully written. Carroll brings to life the story of Abelard and Heloise, but not to focus on the tragic nature of their romance, which resulted in Abelard's brutal castration. No, he depicts the love that arises when two brilliant people come together, each feeding the other's brilliance. The result of that love echoes through the centuries to change the lives of two people in New York City in the aftermath of World War

    I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley.

    A stunning book, beautifully written. Carroll brings to life the story of Abelard and Heloise, but not to focus on the tragic nature of their romance, which resulted in Abelard's brutal castration. No, he depicts the love that arises when two brilliant people come together, each feeding the other's brilliance. The result of that love echoes through the centuries to change the lives of two people in New York City in the aftermath of World War II: a Catholic priest, left staggered by the return of a friend from his youth, as he realizes his own poignant isolation in the clergy; and a young woman, a Jew from France whose father studied the texts of Abelard, and essentially died for it during the war.

    There are layers upon layers here. This book is not a melodrama. It's about nuance. It's about people being people. It's about surviving, at great cost. It's about losing God, and finding him again. It's about the history of Catholicism and Judaism, and how churches--like people--have a difficult time realizing their errors or making an effort to correct them.

    This is a book that will haunt me, in the best sort of way. I am left with a profound need to not only read more about Abelard and Heloise, but to look for more of James Carroll's work.

  • Annie

    Originally published on my blog:

    A new narrative historical fiction from

    and

    , The Cloister uses parallel storylines from the 12th and 20th centuries to illuminate and emphasize the timelessness of faith, love, fidelity, understanding and salvation.

    I cannot emphasize enough how well written and lyrical this book is. It's definitely one of the more masterfully written books I've read this year. The prose is beautiful and luminous. The author's ability to writ

    Originally published on my blog:

    A new narrative historical fiction from

    and

    , The Cloister uses parallel storylines from the 12th and 20th centuries to illuminate and emphasize the timelessness of faith, love, fidelity, understanding and salvation.

    I cannot emphasize enough how well written and lyrical this book is. It's definitely one of the more masterfully written books I've read this year. The prose is beautiful and luminous. The author's ability to write so honestly about some of the most atrocious, brutal, and heartbreaking episodes of both the 12th and 20th centuries is breathtaking.

    I was really struck by the elevation and sanctity of these two couples (whose relation to one another form two potential halves of a whole circle) separated by almost a millennium, being shaped and molded by these watershed moments. That there are valuable human lessons in the midst of devastation and horror throughout time and history and that it was just as true a thousand years ago as now, was very profound to me.

    This is a book which is going to stick with me. I think this is an important book, even (especially?) for people who have no active religious belief system. The book provides such an eloquent and unassailable logical argument for compassion and self control especially with regard to external belief systems.

    It's not an easy book to read. It's emphatically not light reading. The language is finely crafted, but it took me time to digest and understand.

    Flawless and achingly beautiful.

    Five stars

    Anticipated publication date: 6 March, 2018

    Formats: Kindle / Hardcover, 384 pages.

    Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.

  • Denice Barker

    I finished this book a couple of weeks ago and can’t get it out of my mind. After thinking about it for a couple of weeks I don’t know how to tell you it’s worth every minute of your time and do that telling justice. Bear with me and then go buy the book.

    I had, somewhere in my life, heard the names Heloise and Abelard. I knew theirs was a love story but that’s I all. I didn’t know their time, their story or their purpose. I do now.

    The many layers of The Cloister include the story of a Catholic p

    I finished this book a couple of weeks ago and can’t get it out of my mind. After thinking about it for a couple of weeks I don’t know how to tell you it’s worth every minute of your time and do that telling justice. Bear with me and then go buy the book.

    I had, somewhere in my life, heard the names Heloise and Abelard. I knew theirs was a love story but that’s I all. I didn’t know their time, their story or their purpose. I do now.

    The many layers of The Cloister include the story of a Catholic priest, Father Michael Kavanagh, a Holocaust survivor from France and museum guide, Rachel Vedette, and their crossed paths. One day Fr. Kavanagh has a conversation with Rachel at The Cloisters. He is there spontaneously one day while working through a chance encounter with a friend from another time, Runner Malloy. Neither Fr. Michael nor Rachel realize what that chance encounter would mean to their lives. What is chance, anyway?

    Rachel’s father was a Medieval scholar and his life’s work was dedicated to bringing back the honor Abelard was denied in his own time. Abelard, a philosophy scholar and monk, was discredited for his relationship to the Jews and Rachel’s father worked his way minutely through Abelard’s writings hoping to reinstate his philosophy with the world. Rachel protected her father’s work with her life and after her conversations with Fr. Michael she trusts her father’s writings to him. Nothing sinister here. No car chases as she tries to get them back.

    Are you still with me?

    Heloise and Abelard’s story is one of those immortal love stories and we are told their story interspersed with Rachel and Fr. Michael’s. It is a love story deeply felt. It is also an affirmation of the Jews to their place in history. In their place in philosophical thinking.

    The thinking in this novel is deep and intense and brain altering. Yet it’s not so much so there is no audience for this story. It’s the most thought provoking novel I’ve read in years. I haven’t forgotten it, I will read it again (and maybe again) and think about it when I’m not reading it. And, in my opinion, that’s just about a perfect novel.

  • Sharon

    Carroll has written three story threads in three different time periods. I was ignorant of Peter Abelard and Héloïse but I will never forget them and what they stood for against unbelievable odds. I knew that the Catholic Church had been complicit in the Holocaust but oblivious to the centuries old teaching that as “killers of Christ” they were worthy of scorn, to be wantonly killed - Jews! God’s chosen people!! The second thread takes place during the Holocaust and illustrates the anguish of th

    Carroll has written three story threads in three different time periods. I was ignorant of Peter Abelard and Héloïse but I will never forget them and what they stood for against unbelievable odds. I knew that the Catholic Church had been complicit in the Holocaust but oblivious to the centuries old teaching that as “killers of Christ” they were worthy of scorn, to be wantonly killed - Jews! God’s chosen people!! The second thread takes place during the Holocaust and illustrates the anguish of this evil teaching.

    Abelard was an apologist for the Jewish people, portraying them with “total sympathy and respect - an equal to the Christian. The Jew is not an object of conversion, or doomed to an eternity of hellfire.” This is what he taught his students which put him in opposition to the Catholics leaders of France to his physical peril.

    The modern day thread follows a chance encounter between a Jewish woman and an Irish Catholic priest who begin a tentative friendship after being drawn together through their fascination with the teachings of Abelard. Both are grappling with grievous issues in their lives that were “out of bounds” but come into focus through conversations about the 12th century lives of Peter and Héloïse. Abelard’s philosophy said “no” to the militant Christ and “yes” to the Prince of Peace, and it was his teachings that opened the door to Father Kavanagh’s inner introspection, though he ultimately credits Héloïse for his greatest understandings.

    Carroll, a former priest and practicing Catholic, is not indicting the Church, but he is throwing open the windows and doors and inviting modern Catholics to stop feeling guilty, and to see that more is present, not in the sacrament or in the Church but in the people of the parish themselves, to celebrate. Kavanaugh finally recognized that God’s love for him was no longer contingent on his being a priest. This book is brilliant and certainly more intellectual than I am capable of processing in one reading, all the philosophy and theology, a book of challenge and hope.

  • Nancy

    Religion, Philosophy and Romance

    After an unsettling meeting with an old friend from seminary, Father Kavanagh wanders through Central Park. To escape the rain, he takes shelter in The Cloisters. He’s hoping to be alone, but Rachael Vedette, a museum guide, wanders into his sanctuary. Their unexpected conversation changes their lives.

    Rachael is a survivor of the Holocaust in France. Her father, a Medieval scholar, studied Abelard in the hope of bringing Abelard’s ideas to the modern era and garn

    Religion, Philosophy and Romance

    After an unsettling meeting with an old friend from seminary, Father Kavanagh wanders through Central Park. To escape the rain, he takes shelter in The Cloisters. He’s hoping to be alone, but Rachael Vedette, a museum guide, wanders into his sanctuary. Their unexpected conversation changes their lives.

    Rachael is a survivor of the Holocaust in France. Her father, a Medieval scholar, studied Abelard in the hope of bringing Abelard’s ideas to the modern era and garnering him the honor he deserves. Rachael protected her father’s work throughout her own ordeal, now she feels compelled to share it with Father Kavanagh.

    The novel revolves around the story of Heloise and Abelard, an iconic love story that echoes through the centuries. It is also the story of Rachael and Kavanagh and the struggle to bring the story of the Jews into the rightful place in philosophical thinking, a task that Abelard paid dearly for.

    This is a beautifully written book. It’s a book to be savored, not read quickly. The love story and the foray into philosophy and religion present much food for thought. The characters are real people struggling with mighty issues. The author did an excellent job of making both the middle ages and the modern era into backgrounds that enhanced the novel.

    I enjoyed both the romance and the philosophy. It’s a book worth reading more than once.

    I received this book from Net Galley for this review.

  • Karen

    The Cloister - James Carroll, Mar 6, 4.56, 384 pages

    A well-researched piece of historical fiction written by former priest James Carroll. It is based on historically significant people, fascinating subjects who I’d never before heard of.

    It is a multi-layered read that spans hundreds of years and begins with philisopher/nun Holoise d’Argenteuil arriving at the Cloister garden to meet the Abbot where he will lead her to the the body of her much older lover Peter Abelard, reflecting on their doome

    The Cloister - James Carroll, Mar 6, 4.56, 384 pages

    A well-researched piece of historical fiction written by former priest James Carroll. It is based on historically significant people, fascinating subjects who I’d never before heard of.

    It is a multi-layered read that spans hundreds of years and begins with philisopher/nun Holoise d’Argenteuil arriving at the Cloister garden to meet the Abbot where he will lead her to the the body of her much older lover Peter Abelard, reflecting on their doomed affair and condemnation. Fast forward 800 years when priest Michael Kavanagh and Holocaust survivor Rachel Vedette, a docent and scholar have a chance meeting at the Cloister that will change their lives. This was the first I heard of Abelard and d’Argenteuil and their historically important story told through different perspectives and eras was complex and very well-done.

  • Trin

    A Catholic grapples with "the Jewish question" for 360 pages.

    OY VEY.

    Far be it for me to speak for the entirety of the Jewish people, but: as long as you cool it with the murder and the genocide, we don't really give a shit what you think about us. We definitely don't need lengthy, self-back-patting apologia on our behalf. Thanks.

    I'm am very relieved to be done with this and to now get to read something that, whatever the author's intention, doesn't reference "the Jew" and "the Christ-killers" ab

    A Catholic grapples with "the Jewish question" for 360 pages.

    OY VEY.

    Far be it for me to speak for the entirety of the Jewish people, but: as long as you cool it with the murder and the genocide, we don't really give a shit what you think about us. We definitely don't need lengthy, self-back-patting apologia on our behalf. Thanks.

    I'm am very relieved to be done with this and to now get to read something that, whatever the author's intention, doesn't reference "the Jew" and "the Christ-killers" about 12 times per page.

Best Free Books is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2018 Best Free Books - All rights reserved.