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Margery Kempe (High Risk Books) Paperback – November 1, 1994


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My Struggle: Book Four
Eighteen-year-old Karl Ove moves to a tiny fishing village in the Arctic Circle to work as a school teacher. As the nights get longer, the shadow cast by his father's own sharply increasing alcohol consumption, also gets longer. Read the full description
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Product Details

  • Series: High Risk Books
  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail; First Edition edition (November 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185242334X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852423346
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,097,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Margery Kempe lives up to neither its potential nor its premise. Gluck (Jack the Modernist) attempts to juxtapose his obsession for a young man called "L." with the grotesque lust of a 15th-century mystic for Jesus. The historical Kempe followed her prolific marriage (14 children) with a round of pilgrimages, which she recorded in The Book of Margery Kempe, one of the earliest autobiographies. Gluck's character is rendered as an offensive creature who seeks sainthood through a sexual alliance with Jesus. In sections devoted to the author's affair with "L.," the prose is lyrical and elegant, heavy with Gluck's growing dependency and despondency: "My last word when I die will be his name-to say it in the grandest setting." Conversely, those with Kempe are filled with graphic, disparaging remarks about women (including descriptions of the genitalia of every female character, no matter how minor). It's not the idea of Jesus having a sex life that is so repellent but the strident explicitness-a marked contrast from Gluck and L.'s lovemaking, which comes as a natural part of their story and depicts the author's all-consuming passion. Lastly, Gluck's Margery is so ugly and coarse she doesn't come across as a woman at all-just a man's skewed rendering of one. Whatever Gluck's intention, he has failed. Perhaps Margery knew better than he "that failure was intrinsic, success merely an exception."
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

G., the fictive author of this short, steamy novel, surrealistically juxtaposes his obsession with his young male lover, L., and the equally romantic obsession of the fifteenth-century would-be saint Margery Kempe, who took a vow of chastity after enjoying years of carnal love with her husband John and bearing him 14 children. The book swirls with lust as Margery envisions her sexual bliss with a well-endowed Jesus and, just as ecstatically, her spiritual union with him as a ticket to sainthood. There is something peculiarly appealing about this ambitious, upstaging woman who perseveres even when her fellow religious enthusiasts shun her and her sexual rantings. Although many may find a Jesus who tongue-kisses and says, "I'm horny," dismaying, and Gl{}uck's intercutting of fifteenth-century visions and twentieth-century gay eroticism disorienting, the book's sheer audacity may help it find an avid niche audience. Whitney Scott

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 3, 1998
Format: Paperback
Margery Kempe deserves to be seen by a readership that responds to the same stunning language that characterizes Joyce' best work, and the profound sense of longing that hasn't been rendered since McCullers. There aren't many works of fiction today that take such risk, and this risk has little to do with the sense of erotic in the portrayal of Jesus. Rather, the risk is in the completely raw characterization of Margery and her unabashed expressions of abandon that symbolize desire at its most powerful and destructive. Here is a female protagonist that loves what she loves and is not concerned with forming a humble or pretty picture. She is a "failed saint" because she is a raw, real character. Gluck has built an incredible story around both Kempe and her modern, parallel "brother."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By An avid reader on October 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
Is there a good book that is not, in some fundamental way, odd? This book is odd, and it is brilliant, and if you're a little odd yourself, it will do you rapturous good to read it. I've hesitated too long to take the plunge... Don't make the same mistake. Read this book now!
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Victory Silvers on April 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
I had to read this book for one of my classes after reading "The Book of Margery Kempe". How do I best describe this? Well, the author tells the story of Margery and Jesus' love affair, while at the same time, telling the story of modern gay lovers. Besides the graphic sex, I felt like the modern love story was a bit undeveloped. Definitely an odd book.
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