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A Land Without Sin: A Novel Hardcover – August 1, 2013
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More About the Author
She began teaching at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo after completing the Master's degree. While still matriculating, she took a class in ethics that spurred a return to Christianity and a shift to writing spiritual non-fiction. Along the way, she became a Camaldolese Benedictine oblate, a lay associate of a contemplative Catholic hermitage on the Big Sur coast. For many years, she and her husband Mike have lived on four acres in the country where, in the spirit of St. Benedict, they produce much of the food they eat, including fruits, vegetables, olive oil, eggs, honey, and wine. They have four young grandchildren.
Huston is the author of two novels and five books of spiritual nonfiction, plus co-editor and contributing essayist for another. Her essays and short stories have been honored by BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES and included in the annual BEST SPIRITUAL WRITING anthology. She is a National Endowment of the Arts Fellow in Creative Writing, a member of the Chrysostom Society, and a founder and faculty member for a low-residency California State University Consortium Master of Fine Arts program. She currently mentors MFA students in creative nonfiction for Seattle Pacific University.
Top Customer Reviews
Thus begins this amazing novel.
Author Paula Huston brings formidable gifts to bear in the writing of this, her first novel in nearly twenty years: a lifelong interest in anthropological archaeology, decades of discipline in the craft of writing, her own travels in Latin America, and years of study in theology.
Huston weaves her tale at several levels at once: the book is simultaneously a riveting political thriller, a fascinating historical novel (not only about the uprising in Chiapas in the 1990s but dark days in the Balkans in the 1940s), a moving coming-of-age story, and a brilliant exploration of ancient Mayan mysteries in tension with provocative contemporary theology.
And she does all this superbly well.
This book has been compared to Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory, an accolade which it richly deserves. In the graceful way it braids issues of public importance with private concerns, it also merits comparison with Barbara Kingsolver's Flight Behavior and Ann Patchett's Run (which from me is high praise indeed).
Both those who have admired Huston's six non-fiction books and those who have never heard of her will immensely enjoy A Land Without Sin.
This is a book to read and re-read, to give to friends, to ponder and remember, for a long time to come.
She is unwillingly sucked into her employer's family life as she works with his likable son and meets his wife. This just adds to the list of mysteries she can't solve as their relationships seem too complex for a normal family. Meanwhile, as Eva reads an old stack of her brother's letters, we learn of her own mysterious background, much of which she is only coming to terms with as her journey continues.
A lot of this book is infused with questions and conversation about faith. As Eva encounters revolutionaries and ordinary folk, the information she has picked up from her brother's own spiritual growth suddenly begins to be applicable to a lot of different situations in very interesting ways. All this is done without hitting the reader over the head with a religious hammer, which I appreciated.
I myself really enjoyed this book and finished it several months ago but I have not reviewed it until now because I wasn't sure how to describe it. The fascinating blend of treasure hunt and South American revolution made me read the story quickly, but I never felt worried about Eva's safety. In fact the book left me feeling almost detached from any emotional reaction to the storyline.
Perhaps the best comparison I can come up is to Silence by Shūsaku Endō.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting read. The characters came alive on the pages. I felt a kindred spirit as their personalities unfolded.Published 16 months ago by Patricia
The story line gets confusing, though the writing itself is excellentPublished 17 months ago by Luci Shaw
One reviewer said, "This [A land without sin] is what a Christian novel should look like". Although I understand the sentiment. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Kendall
Paula Huston engaged me with her credible characters and laudable aims. It is an ambitious thing to connect the dots between Nazi concentration camps in Croatia, ancient Mayan... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Paul J. Willis
Having lived in Mexico and worked with a lovely Maya pastor outside of Acapulco I could relate to this story and I loved it. Read morePublished on December 28, 2013 by sylvia walker
A fun zip through South American jungles, pyramids and mysteries. Great characters in a page-turning mystery. I hope this author comes out with more.Published on December 11, 2013 by careful shopper
A very thought provoking, soul searching book. The character development, suspense, and historical base, and themes of this book make it hard for me to put it down.Published on November 30, 2013 by cindy ostrander
The characters were interesting and easy to relate to. The story was captivating and I liked getting a history lesson without feeling like I was getting one. Read morePublished on October 9, 2013 by AGA