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Little Saint Hardcover – July 18, 2000

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (July 18, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394565959
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394565958
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,390,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

As evidenced by her successful novel The Dead of the House, Hannah Green possessed an acute awareness of early adolescence, the time in life we call coming of age. It's no surprise that Green became entranced and eventually dedicated to a 12-year-old girl, who was known as Saint Foy. Betrayed by her father in 303 A.D., the French girl called Faith was tortured and beheaded for her refusal to worship the pagan goddess Diana and renounce her devotion to Christ.

Green narrates in the first person, recounting her reaction and fascination when she first traveled to Conques, France, and saw the golden statue of Saint Foy (with the girl's bones embedded in the statue's heart). Although pilgrims from all centuries and all parts of the world have paid homage to Saint Foy's statue, Green had not anticipated the deep visceral reaction she would have when she first beheld the little saint. "It is a shrine," she writes. "And in some mystic way it suggests to the mind's eye more strongly than any imagined likeness could the presence of Saint Foy herself as she was, with her young fresh skin and the radiance, the life, in her face, the light, and as she is: bone and spirit come to God."

This is a three-layered, masterful piece in which Green offers a biography of this young saint and the influence she's had over the centuries, a profile of the highly unique village that hosts her statue, and finally a memoir of Green's own spiritual epiphanies born from this saintly encounter. --Gail Hudson

From Publishers Weekly

A form of perfectionistic paralysis seems to have gripped Green, author of the critically acclaimed 1972 novel The Dead of the House, who spent more than a quarter-century writing this evocative account of her romance with a French village and its martyr-saint. Like the masonry and artwork of the antique Proven al chapels Green describes, her words bear the imprint of long, loving attention to detail. In the 1970s, Green became entranced by Conques, a hamlet in the south of France, and its shrine dedicated to Foy, a 4th-century Christian girl martyred for refusal to sacrifice to a pagan deity. Foy's relics, encased in a golden and jewel-encrusted statue, made Conques a medieval pilgrimage center. Green explains, with stunning sensitivity for a modern writer, what devotees felt when they stood in the saint's presenceDa mixture of awe and intimacy that exerts power still. Green also captures the rhythms of life in a French village. By the end readers feel they know her neighbors, can taste the village's special foods, and can see the churches and sacred stones Green contemplates. One can quibble with certain aspects of the bookDthe descriptions of flora and fauna become tedious, and Green idealizes peasants as only "big city" writers are capable of doing. Yet Little Saint rises as close to perfection as hagiographic literature ever has. The author, who has passed away since completing the book, should rest easy. (July)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By susan on June 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Do you like to visit foreign lands without having to take the time and expense of actually traveling there? Well, this book is a marvelous example of actually visiting the small village of Conques in south France. We get to meet people and places, hear tales and myths, and share a little bit in the author's own feelings and spiritual experiences at a saint's shrine. This is a good read, but not very exciting. Very true to life.
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29 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Belinda on August 31, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you have scored highly on 'South of France' travel narratives and combined Church history reading...if only trivia, hold on your in for a very fascinating ride. Frances Mays takes us to Tuscany and Peter Mayle covered Provence very few in print have covered this mid-pyrenee region and legend. Hannah Green will appeal to a larger host of audience. Why? Due to the wide spectrum of topics and appeal. First the travel buff, then the South of France fans, then the religious folks and not to mention the purely intellectual group who will want to experience a widely unknown 'Saint and Section' of France. My particular interest was all of the above and a recent pilgrimage I took. This book sets one off to study to the wide eye fascination with 'wonder, childlike faith and desparate adult petitions to the vastly hidden Sainte Foy'. It intriqued me that once again (i.e. Kathleen Norris) a non Catholic is making a journey into many avenues your basic educated Catholic has not traversed let only published. That comment equals the four stars I rated this book. Enjoy the ride.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Martha Graham on May 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
Well - - - this was a little difficult to get through. However, if you have any religous fervor in the slightest, go for it. Also, if you have any knowledge of Conques or the Aveyron region of France, this is for you. She details a lot about this area and you can easily feel yourself in that world. Sometimes I felt as though I were back there. Personally though, I liked her "The Dead of the House" better, but it was completely different.
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