The Habitation of the Blessed
This is the story of a place that never was: the kingdom of Prester John, the utopia described by an anonymous, twelfth-century document which captured the imagination of the medieval world and drove hundreds of lost souls to seek out its secrets, inspiring explorers, missionaries, and kings for... show more
This is the story of a place that never was: the kingdom of Prester John, the utopia described by an anonymous, twelfth-century document which captured the imagination of the medieval world and drove hundreds of lost souls to seek out its secrets, inspiring explorers, missionaries, and kings for centuries. But what if it were all true? What if there was such a place, and a poor, broken priest once stumbled past its borders, discovering, not a Christian paradise, but a country where everything is possible, immortality is easily had, and the Western world is nothing but a dim and distant dream?Brother Hiob of Luzerne, on missionary work in the Himalayan wilderness on the eve of the eighteenth century, discovers a village guarding a miraculous tree whose branches sprout books instead of fruit. These strange books chronicle the history of the kingdom of Prester John, and Hiob becomes obsessed with the tales they tell. The Habitation of the Blessed recounts the fragmented narratives found within these living volumes, revealing the life of a priest named John, and his rise to power in this country of impossible richness. John's tale weaves together with the confessions of his wife Hagia, a blemmye--a headless creature who carried her face on her chest--as well as the tender, jeweled nursery stories of Imtithal, nanny to the royal family. Hugo and World Fantasy award nominee Catherynne M. Valente reimagines the legends of Prester John in this stunning tour de force.
Publish date: November 1st 2010
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Pages no: 269
Edition language: English
I absolutely loved Catherynne Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, which is a children's book filled with the madcap ideas crammed into every sentence. The Habitation of the Blessed is an adult fantasy novel filled with the madcap ideas crammed into every sen...
I'm not sure what to say right now, except this was a very good book. I'd recommend being open minded about religion if you read it.Reviewed for Bitten by Books.com: http://bittenbybooks.com.
by Catherynne M . ValenteThough there are several important excerpts at the beginning of the book, I decided to use the opening line from the first chunk of narrative: "I am a very bad historian. But I am a very good miserable old man."I've been a fan of Valente's short fiction for a year or two now...
I honestly have trouble writing actual reviews for five-star books. Perhaps when I had time to digest this...