|A Wonderful Present! / A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ|
I have to say, I really loved Michael's post 118, And Sharon's response (after phone calls,) was even that much better. Absolutely wonderful!
As an adult fantasy, infinitely more rewarding than Narnia, I am going to post a review that I have submitted to amazon and other web sites.
A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ
Walter M. Miller Jr.s' magnum opus, constantly in print from the date of its publication in 1959, this work is considered by many to be the most beautifully artistic work of Sci-Fi ever written. In three parts, (Fiat Homo, Fiat Lux, Fiat Voluntas Tua,) it traces the future history of man from a post-thermonuclear dark age, through the re-invention of electricity, and back to the brink of self destruction.
Written as an explicitly Roman Catholic and pre-Vatican II novel, the story revolves about a monastery named for the titular character, who never appears on screen. A basic knowledge of Latin or a willingness to look up a term every other chapter, and an ability to suspend any anti-Catholic bias will be necessary. But the work is one of worship for heroic effort, of principles upheld, and values passionately pursued. Miller's sense of history and discerning psychological skill lead to vistas and characterizations of Herbertian depth. With the wry dark wit of a Cold-War culture that produced Strangelove and Planet of the Apes, irony wrestles with ecstasy. Leibowitz is a Jew, canonized by the Church for accidental reasons. Spanning centuries, another strand woven through it is the apocryphal Christian persona, the Wandering Jew, condemned to walk the Earth 'til Christ return. Miller's language is unsurpassingly poetic, his words evoking imagery of Randian clarity. I have read this book three times through, as many as I have Atlas Shrugged. Miller was known primarily as a writer of short stories, often, as in Dark Benediction, of great skill and originality. He led a troubled later life, and never finished another novel. The posthumous, disillusioned and anti-climactic Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman was finished by a ghost writer. But this masterpiece, reviewed 196 times on amazon.com, has all the pathos and beauty of a great mediaeval cathedral, altar piece included.
Ted Keer, Sep 10, 2006, NYC