Desert Ascent: A Brief History of Eternity

Simon Parke, Author Hodder & Stoughton $11.99 (128p) ISBN 978-0-340-69397-1
Set in the sleepy Saharan monastery of St. James the Less, this first novel from Parke, an Anglican vicar, is the humorous, inspirational tale of a modern-day siege--and the quirky spiritual seekers who get stuck together behind the monastery's walls. Since St. James has a tradition of assigning its brethren new, honest names, these include people like Skarit the Rat, Sanjay the Mouse and narrator Abbot Peter the Fool. Parke succeeds in making his religious eccentrics memorable by sketching their relationships to each other and to God--as observed and hoped-for by the abbot. Parke sets this winsome group on the ladder to salvation in an entertaining bit of cracker-barrel allegory, and his invitingly nonsectarian faith (which embraces elements of Catholicism, Islam, the Church of England and Buddhism) should win him devotees from within and outside his mother church. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
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