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Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"Carl Sagan meets Umberto Eco"*



My latest book from the library is Eifelheim by Michael Flynn. Here's the blurb from Publishers Weekly at the Amazon page ...

Starred Review. A present-day scientific odd couple who are longtime domestic partners, physicist Sharon Nagy and historian Tom Schwoerin, look into the fate of the Black Forest village of the title, which apparently vanished in the plague year 1348, in Flynn's heartbreaking morality play of stranded aliens in medieval Germany. Most of the narrative focuses on the consequences of the discovery in the 14th century by Eifelheim's pastor, Father Dietrich, of a crashed space ship carrying the "Krenken," horrific grasshopperlike aliens. Despite Inquisitorial threats, Dietrich befriends, baptizes and attempts to help the aliens return home. Flynn (The Wreck of the River of Stars) masterfully achieves an intricate panorama of medieval life, full of fascinatingly realized human and Krenken characters whose fates interconnect with poignant irony. Through human frailties, the very Christianity by which Dietrich hopes to save Krenken souls dooms them all.

* Wook Kim, Eifelheim, Entertainment Weekly

I'm just at the beginning of the book it's fairly interesting so far. The Black Forest, where Eifelheim was supposed to be, is one of the few places I've actually visited, though I didn't experience any aliens, only cuckoo clocks and swiss cheese sandwiches :) And also interesting: there's a Fraticelli character in the book, one of the Franciscan Spirituals who are found in Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose (see my past post: From Catherine of Siena to Umberto Eco ).

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