So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Lourdes by Emile Zola

LOURDES tells the story of a four day pilgramage to the famous shrine in the late 19th century from the point of view of an abbe who has lost faith. He accompanies a childhood friend and her father as they seek a cure for her paralysis and pain. The abbe is no believer in miracles and his story is about the faith of those who have no where else to turn. Still powerful today, as many turn from a science-based medical establishment, when it offers no cures, to faith healings which heal, if not always the physical symptoms, the anguish and pain of hopelessness, this book explores the hearts and minds of the faithful with respect and insight. Zola's descriptions of trains and hospitals full of the diseased hopeful are overwhelming to read. His mixing of the political, the spiritual and the personal is well-balanced and provides a great tale. You will find the story of Bernadette and the Lady of Lourdes here, but if you are looking for inspirational reading about miraculous cures, you should look elsewhere. This book is about the very human side of a place usually known only for its miracles.

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