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Father Michael Kavanagh is shocked to see a friend from his seminary days named Runner Malloy at the altar of his humble Inwood community parish. Wondering about their past, he wanders into the medieval haven of The Cloisters, and begins a conversation with a lovely and intriguing museum guide, Rachel Vedette.
Rachel, a scholar of medieval history, has retreated to the quiet of The Cloisters after her harrowing experience as a Jewish woman in France during the Holocaust. She ponders her late father's greatest intellectual work: a study demonstrating the relationship between the famously discredited monk Peter Abelard and Jewish scholars. Something about Father Kavanagh makes Rachel think he might appreciate her continued studies, and she shares with him the work that cost her father his life.
At the center of these interrelated stories is the classic romance between the great scholar Peter Abelard and his intellectual equal Héloïse. For Rachel, Abelard is the key to understanding her people's place in intellectual history. For Kavanagh, he is a doorway to understanding the life he might have had outside of the Church. The Cloister is James Carroll at his best.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Deborah Purdy on 05-28-18
A Story woven with confusion and light.
As I read the story line was somewhat predictable, and yet as I read the threads was filled with compassion, love and a deep understanding. I could not help to think that as corrupt and soiled as the Catholic Church, what makes it foundationally good is the real story of love that people live by day in and day out. It is not the clergy and their doctrine that make the faith, but the real story of truth and goodness that will not be watered down nor go away.