Book Meme: ‘Psichore’s Day One

The Book Meme Challenge:  The Best Book You Read Last Year

After some deliberation, I’ve concluded that this must have been A Canticle for Liebowitz.

I am intrigued by how many versions of the cover exist

Honestly, I found it a rather difficult read – not on account of the ‘reading level’ or Latin sprinkled throughout, but because the premise of how nuclear fallout changes the world cannot but be distressing, nor am I well-versed in post-apocalyptic fiction.  Especially fascinating, if a bit appalling, is the lack of trust of the self-styled ‘simpletons’ for scholars or learning in general – to the point where anyone caught with a book will be killed.  Given how people react to crises today, even those caused by natural disasters rather than human warfare, it’s easy enough to picture the backlash against the scientists who made it possible to blow the world apart.

There is so much I didn’t catch in my first reading, but here are three of the elements Miller captures:
– the desolate atmosphere of such a time, heightened by the fact that the large cities of today (e.g., Denver) become the names of regions inhabited by nomads (nor are the deserts and seas without the requisite vultures and sharks);
– how the Church would go about preserving wisdom so well as it might, which involves both hearkening back to the scribes and illumination of old, as well as scientific experimentation and spaceship-launching of the future; and
– how difficult it would be to assimilate knowledge when popular feeling has been set against it and so many texts have been lost forever.  The monks hold a shopping list and various blueprints in high reverence by virtue of their being written before the Flame Deluge.

Though the onlooker might wonder about God’s plan for the world, especially when the monks or other characters suffer greatly, the Church continues on.

Benedicamus Domino!
Deo Gratias!

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5 thoughts on “Book Meme: ‘Psichore’s Day One

  1. I keep hearing about this book, but I have not yet had sufficient time/energy to seek it out. The few semi-apocalyptic books that I have read do tend to frighten me rather badly. Have you read L’Engle’s time-traveling-to-prevent-apocalypse book “A Swiftly Tilting Planet”? That has a very interesting take on it.

  2. Oooh…is it a sequel of some sort to Wrinkle in Time? I confess I’ve not read as much of L’Engle’s work as I’d like.

    • Not so much a sequel as just a part of the Murray Family Chronicles. I do prefer L’Engle’s earlier books, but her creativity and intensity are always awesome. I think a Wrinkle in Time must make it’s way onto this list somehow. Ahh! Too many books! Must I choose just one?

  3. I’ve also heard the title for this one pop up a bit, and I’ve always been curious about it. You make it sound interesting enough that I think I shall add it to my reading list.

    As for L’Engle, I remember reading her first two or three books round about 5th grade (or rather, my teacher read them to our class). They were fascinating, as I remember. I read the 4th book, Many Waters on my own a few years later, and found it a strange but intriguing take on the story of Noah. Haven’t touched them since then, although when I worked at Borders this holiday season I used my employee discounts and some gift money to get a boxed set of the series without spending a penny of my own money. The books are on my shelf now, and I admit they frequently call out to me.

  4. Pingback: Thursday Dances: Cataclysmic Codices « Egotist's Club

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