The Cloister

The Cloister

From National Book Award-winning writer James Carroll comes a novel of the timeless love story of Peter Abelard and Heloise, and its impact on a modern priest and a Holocaust survivor seeking sanctuary in Manhattan. 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 abou From National Book Award-winning writer James Carroll comes a novel of the timeless love story of Peter Abelard and H...

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Title:The Cloister
Author:James Carroll
Rating:
Genres:Historical
ISBN:0385541279
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:384 pages pages

The Cloister Reviews

  • Nancy
    Nov 02, 2017
    The Cloister is that rare contemporary novel that demands intellectual and emotional engagement from the reader. Yes, it is the historical love story of Abelard and Heloise, and it can of course be read for that alone. But, it is more importantly a quest for understanding; an enquiry i...
  • Trin
    Mar 16, 2018
    A Catholic grapples with "the Jewish question" for 360 pages. OY VEY. Far be it for me to speak for the entirety of the Jewish people, but: as long as you cool it with the murder and the genocide, we don't really give a shit what you think about us. We definitely don't need lengt...
  • Tucker
    May 07, 2018
    Focuses mainly on Abelard's theological iconoclasm in defense of Christ's salvation extended to Jews, his romance with his student, and the resistance he met from the Catholic church for both of those things. Half of the story is set in the 20th century, as the question of the Abelard'...
  • Drick
    May 02, 2018
    This book contains four stories woven into one in a masterful way. The central story is a love story between 12th century monk Peter Abelard and his young student Heloise. Abelard is castrated for his violation of his vow of celibacy yet remains a master teacher often opposed by the ze...
  • Anya Leonard
    Dec 07, 2017
    In the grand tradition of Kate Mosse, this book juxtaposes the story of Peter Abelard and Heloise with a more contemporary story of Father Kavanagh and Rachel. We meet both of our sets of main characters early on in the story and learn and grow with them through their trials and tribul...
  • Sharon
    Feb 27, 2018
    Carroll has written three story threads in three different time periods. I was ignorant of Peter Abelard and Héloïse but I will never forget them and what they stood for against unbelievable odds. I knew that the Catholic Church had been complicit in the Holocaust but oblivious to th...
  • Rick
    Jul 28, 2018
    I loved this book so much that I finished it in five days! This story comes at a particularly apt time to read a thoughtful novel about standing up to political and religious intimidation, when we are beset with a rise in hate crimes against any multitude of minority groups. "From N...
  • Nancy
    Mar 06, 2018
    Religion, Philosophy and Romance After an unsettling meeting with an old friend from seminary, Father Kavanagh wanders through Central Park. To escape the rain, he takes shelter in The Cloisters. He?s hoping to be alone, but Rachael Vedette, a museum guide, wanders into his sanctu...
  • Annarella
    Dec 08, 2017
    This is a wonderful book and I was hooked since the first pages. I coudn't believe I never read anything by this writer as he is so incredibly good. I am still reading it, savouring every page and trying to make it last as long as possible. Strongly recommended. ...
  • Evi
    Jun 08, 2018
    It was a promising read to begin with, but I had to give it up after 2/3 of the way through. Life is too short to struggle with a cumbersome book when there are so many good books waiting to be read. ...
  • Ioana
    Mar 14, 2018
    Threading three different stories, the novel presents the story of people who are unable to present their cases clearly, or if they do, they are met with judgment and misunderstanding. The story of World War Two Holocaust when millions of Jews were killed is well known. A victim of...
  • Karen
    Mar 15, 2018
    The Cloister - James Carroll, Mar 6, 4.56, 384 pages A well-researched piece of historical fiction written by former priest James Carroll. It is based on historically significant people, fascinating subjects who I?d never before heard of. It is a multi-layered read that spans hu...
  • Sherri
    May 01, 2018
    This is a good introduction to Abelard and Heloise, beyond the romance. Their story runs parallel to the tentative friendship of Father Michael and Rachel, a museum tour guide and Holocaust survivor. Both carry burdens from loss, regret and secrets. There is much history, theology ...
  • J.S. Dunn
    Jul 15, 2018
    As another reviewer said, Breathtakingly tedious. Gave it a 3 only because of the depth of research but the multiple settings do not work. ...
  • Liz Gray
    Mar 28, 2018
    Carroll's latest novel is set in the 1950s and examines crises of conscience in the lives of four people, two contemporary and two historical. The contemporary characters are a Catholic priest and French Holocaust survivor who meet by accident in New York's Cloisters Museum, and the hi...
  • Charlene
    Jun 03, 2018
    This book has three settings, one in medieval Europe, the other two more closely-related in time: Jewish people from France in one of Hitler's camps, and 1950s NYC Irish Catholic priesthood. The medieval story is a fictionalized account of Abelard and Heloise; the French Jewish woma...
  • Anne
    Apr 05, 2018
    Breathtakingly tedious - glad to return it to the library. ...
  • Amy Gennaro
    Sep 07, 2017
    I was given an advance copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review. WoW! An excellent book that tells the epic love story of Heloise and Abelard and the importance and context of Paul Abelard's teachings. The story moves between 12th century time of these lover...
  • Lisa
    May 09, 2018
    The Cloister is a rich and demanding reading experience. Carroll skillfully weaves together three narratives from three historical settings-1950 New York City, Nazi-occupied Paris and medieval France. I found the novel quite engrossing - but because all the characters are grappling wit...
  • Lynn
    Aug 03, 2017
    Peter Abelard 's reputation down through the centuries had "risen and fallen: initially a heretic, then a scholastic philosopher, then an embryonic Protestant, then a hero of the Enlightenment, then an admired humanist of the Romantic era". He became abbot of Saint-Gildas de Rhuys. Tog...
  • Beth Cato
    Sep 30, 2017
    I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley. A stunning book, beautifully written. Carroll brings to life the story of Abelard and Heloise, but not to focus on the tragic nature of their romance, which resulted in Abelard's brutal castration. No, he depicts the love that a...
  • Annie
    Nov 05, 2017
    Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader A new narrative historical fiction from James Carroll and Doubleday, The Cloister uses parallel storylines from the 12th and 20th centuries to illuminate and emphasize the timelessness of faith, love, fidelity, understanding and salvat...
  • Ally
    Mar 17, 2018
    The initial subject of the book intrigued me, but after getting 1/3 of the way in, I was not enjoying the read. I went to Catholic school for 10 years and I was still unsure about a lot of the terms that were used in the story, and I felt that the storylines were not grabbing my attent...
  • Wytzia Raspe
    Dec 05, 2017
    "Abelard and Héloïse? Was he not that guy who got castrated?" That was the first thing that came to mind. And that they had joined a monastery afterwards summed up all I knew. The novel is in fact three stories that intertwine: - The story of Abelard and Héloïse in 12th century...
  • Kathleen Gray
    Feb 27, 2018
    I have not read Carroll for a long time but this came along as a Netgalley ARC and well, I was happy to enter his world again. This time he explores the tale of Heloise and Abelard. Father Michael Kavanaugh and Rachel Vedette meet by chance at the Cloisters. Rachel's story, as a surviv...
  • Denice Barker
    Feb 01, 2018
    I finished this book a couple of weeks ago and can?t get it out of my mind. After thinking about it for a couple of weeks I don?t know how to tell you it?s worth every minute of your time and do that telling justice. Bear with me and then go buy the book. I had, somewhere in my ...
  • Lisa Bernstein
    May 21, 2018
    This novel moves back and forth in time between the twelfth century France, France in 1942, and New York in 1950. The characters are all compelling and believable. The plot explores the themes of faith and reason, and different kinds of love (eros, agape, caritas) and how these are exp...
  • Jodi Patel
    May 08, 2018
    Might I suggest not using a publisher as a therapist? ...
  • CoffeeandInk
    Sep 17, 2017
    The Cloisters is a novel of ideas that made me feel as breathless and on edge as I do when reading a thriller. With masterful writing and pacing, the author creates two worlds for the characters to inhabit?1140s Paris and the scholastic sphere of the brilliant Peter Abelard and Heloi...
  • Fran Hawthorne
    Jun 26, 2018
    Once again, James Carroll has written a compelling, complex, richly researched story that explores important questions of Catholic history. In this case, he goes back to the 12th story, to the doomed romance of the French monk Peter Abelard and his pupil, Heloise. But if readers think ...