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For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain

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A novel that fearlessly investigates the medieval mind ... Honest, insightful, erudite and wise -- ANNIE GARTHWAITE, author CECILY Margery has left her fourteen children and husband behind to make her journey. Her visions of Christ - which have long alienated her from her family and neighbours, and incurred her husband's abuse - have placed her in danger with the men of the Church, who have begun to hound her as a heretic. This is the best first novel I've read in years. It is short, yet so full and so vivid; it is amazing. -- RODDY DOYLE, author of LOVE Julian, an anchoress, has not left Norwich, nor the cell to which she has been confined, for twenty- three years. She has told no one of her own visions - and knows that time is running out for her to do so. A startling read ... Magic' JO BROWNING WROE, author of the Sunday Times-bestselling A Terrible Kindness

Though her actual horizon is as small as can be, she comes to see all of life afresh with a potent clarity. There are, of course, moments of despair – she is certainly no plaster saint – but through a series of visions she glimpses an answer to the questions that torment her, and with it an acceptance. Margery has left her fourteen children and husband behind to make her journey. Her visions of Christ – which have long alienated her from her family and neighbours, and incurred her husband’s abuse – have placed her in danger with the men of the Church, who have begun to hound her as a heretic. Victoria will be in conversation with Sally-Anne, whose 2016 BBC documentary The Search for the Lost Manuscript, tells the story of how Julian’s manuscript was hidden for centuries. They will discuss women’s voices in historical fiction, the tradition of spiritual writing and much more.An astounding debut, both epic and intimate, about grief, trauma, revelation, and the hidden lives of women - by a major new talent The author may even bring something of her own experience of that search for meaning in ­suffering to bear: Gilbert’s previous book, Miles to Go Before I Sleep (2021), was a thought-provoking account of her own two-and-a-half years of gruelling cancer treatment. Via a series of letters she sends to her counsellor, a Benedictine monk from Norwich Cathedral, Julian enters into a dialogue with the reader. The words Gilbert gives her segue effortlessly with the words we already know as hers, thanks to Eliot: “I wait patiently, with no urgency. I have been granted all the time there is. I do not try to make anything of what I see. I hold no expectation or assumption that I know anything at all.” Her voice swanned and preened and boasted,” the anchoress will observe of her visitor. “Yet there was another note to her song. Margery Kempe was the loneliest woman I had ever met.” Entrambe, sebbene per motivi diversi, vissero una vita di sofferenza e dolore fino al momento dell'avvicinamento a Dio, nel quale, non solo troveranno la loro ragione d'essere, ma sfideranno tutti gli schemi sociali pur di vivere a pieno il loro credo. Sì, perché essere anacorete o profete in quel periodo storico significava rischiare l'accusa di eresia e la condanna al rogo.

One of the few details we know of Julian’s life is that, in 1413, another remarkable woman who saw visions of God, Margery Kempe, came to visit her. A merchant’s daughter and mother of 14 from King’s Lynn, Kempe also has her place in English literature. A caveat: engaging as both books are, I found the ease with which both recount the fact of the Shewings to be underwhelming. Where is the terror, the sense of awe, the sheer trepidation with which Julian was catapulted into the extraordinary realm of mysticism which she came to inhabit? Intimately observed, lyrically written and meticulously researched. I loved this' KIRSTY LOGAN, author of Things We Say in the DarkDramatic interest comes from Julian’s interpretation of the scraps of information that come through the window to her anchorhold. She passes judgement and has opinions. How troubling, then, that the Church also must come under scrutiny. Holy Mother Church can be less than a mother in its dealings, especially with stray mystics. Gilbert’s Julian makes an intellectual leap. She interrogates the Church, too, from the comparative safety of her cell and sets up a dialogue between her mystical and her lived experience.

Magnificent, bold and compelling' ROSIE ANDREWS, author of the Sunday Times-bestselling The Leviathan This is an extraordinary novel about two extraordinary women, the books they wrote and how those books survived. In 1934, while looking for a ping pong ball in the house of Lieutenant Colonel William Butler-Bowdon, a guest stumbled upon the only complete manuscript of The Book of Margery Kempe. Butler-Bowdon threatened to throw it on the bonfire, saying “then we may be able to find ping pong balls and bats when we want them”. Fortunately he changed his mind, and the manuscript of the earliest English autobiography is now safely in the British Library. Unfortunately, For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain was a huge disappointment. Despite being a novella, the book dragged on and was effectively little more than a description of the hardships the two women had faced. We all know that life was extremely hard during the Medieval times, and this was written realistically, but the premise spoke of a meeting; this did not occur until right at the end of the book and was fleeting to say the least. Intimately observed, lyrically written and meticulously researched' KIRSTY LOGAN, author of THINGS WE SAY IN THE DARK Julian, an anchoress, has not left Norwich, nor the cell to which she has been confined, for twenty-­three years. She has told no one of her own visions - and knows that time is running out for her to do so.Magnificent, bold and compelling' ROSIE ANDREWS, author of the Sunday Times-bestselling The Leviathan 'A startling read ... Magic' JO BROWNING WROE, author of the Sunday Times-bestselling A Terrible Kindness Julian, an anchoress, has not left Norwich, nor the cell to which she has been confined, for twenty-­three years. She has told no one of her own visions – and knows that time is running out for her to do so. Julian, an anchoress, has not left Norwich, nor the cell to which she has been confined, for twenty--three years. She has told no one of her own visions - and knows that time is running out for her to do so. Partiamo con il presupposto che nonostante non mi piacciano i Pov in questo caso li ho apprezzati. Mettere in parallelo le vicende e i pensieri di Margery e di Julian è stata un’ottima mossa, è stato come rivivere in contemporanea due vite diverse, ma molto simili nelle vicende.

Have a listen to Victoria's conversation with Shahidha Bari on BBC Radio 4's Front Row (recording begins at 15:13) Peccato che per le prime 141 pagine di 170 non succede niente, solo allora le due si incontrato, fino a quel momento riporta in maniera del tutto monotona i loro pensieri. Comprendo il contenuto, ma non si può parlare della stessa cosa per 141 pagine con le stesse parole. Margery has left her fourteen children and husband behind to make her journey. Her visions of Christ – which have long alienated her from her family and neighbours, and incurred her husband's abuse – have placed her in danger with the men of the Church, who have begun to hound her as a heretic. Ho letto le prime 50 pagine tutte d’un fiato, mi sono detta:”oh, finalmente sono incappata in un buon romanzo” e niente, non è stato così.” As a category, spiritual autobiography lends itself well to this kind of literary adventuring, and both these books make promising additions to an interesting genre. Lives of the saints come alive with a first-person narrative; roll on the stage performances.

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Likewise, descriptions of the transcendent can sound awkward and alienating in our secular times when religious literacy is poor, but in reliving Julian’s “shewings” – or visions of God – Gilbert somehow manages to convey the essentials, their psychological and emotional impact, without getting too tangled up with proof of what actually was or wasn’t happening to her: “The rich joy is released like tasty food to a hungry stomach or a blazing fire to a cold body, or strong embrace to a lonely soul, or deep rest to a troubled mind, or the ­sudden cessation of pain.”

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