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...
  • 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. ...
  • 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...
  • Aliceconlon
    Mar 26, 2018
    I am finding it hard to write a review of The Cloister, a book rich in retelling the love story of Abelard and Heloise, the writings of Abelard on personal conscience and the place of Jews in Christian history, the atrocities towards Jews in Germany in WWII, and the Catholic Church's h...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • Rachel
    Apr 10, 2018
    Fascinating and compelling, this extremely complex "split-screen" novel tells the timeless love story of the discredited medieval French religious scholar Peter Abelard and his intellectual paramour Héloïse (which I knew absolutely nothing about), and its impact on a priest and a Hol...
  • 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...
  • Jo Dervan
    Feb 16, 2018
    Father Michael Kavanagh stepped into the Cloisters, a medieval museum composed of parts of former cloisters brought from Europe by John D. Rockefeller.Jr. The museum was near his blue collar Catholic parish in upper New York City. However the priest had never been inside the museum. Wh...
  • 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 ...
  • Stacy Brunner
    May 15, 2018
    So strange the way I discovered this book. And then to find that it takes place in two places I've visited in the past year. And how it dovetails with the Old Testament reading I've been doing in the past few months. Wow. I love historical fiction... this one is well done. This is a...
  • Ilona
    Oct 29, 2017
    The Cloister by James Carroll tells the story of the forbidden love of Peter Abelard and Héloïse in 12th century Paris. Two brilliant minds teaching lessons that placed the Catholic church in a new perspective. It also tells the stories of Rachel Vedette, a French scholar and Hol...
  • Judy G
    Apr 14, 2018
    What an extraordinary book! A Gem. I was not surprised to read that the author James Carroll was a priest and left. He has woven three different tales together and it works. The source foundation is of Heloise and Abelard their love their punishment and the clergy politics and his phil...
  • Bill Curtin
    May 11, 2018
    Brought back many memories of my time as a Roman priest and the attendant struggles. It also reminded me of the terrible Church History classes and courses I had in the Roman Seminary. Peter Abelard and Heloise were treated as two over sexed and distracted scholars who disregarded doct...
  • Joanne
    Apr 30, 2018
    Carroll tells parallel stories: Abelard and Heloise, 12th century Catholic philosophers and lovers, and Kavanagh and Rachel, post-WW2 Irish Catholic NYC priest and Jewish French medieval scholar/ camp survivor. Abelard was a revolutionary (for his time, and perhaps ours as well) Cathol...
  • 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...