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Saint Francis Paperback – April 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: The Loyola Classics Series
  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Loyola Classics (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0829421297
  • ISBN-13: 978-0829421293
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 5 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #634,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Kazantzakis infuses this tale with a fervent vision that is uniquely his own, highlighting the saint’s heroic single-mindedness in the face of extreme physical and spiritual suffering. He portrays the saint as a great lover and inspiring leader, who embraced radical poverty in the face of many obstacles and temptations.

 

From the Back Cover

The Francis of Assisi in these pages is a man of struggle and suffering, a man God-possessed.”—Saturday Review

“The writing . . . is direct and vigorous.”—Commonweal

“The novel is strong, deep, and moving. . . . a penetration into the mystery and wonder of life.”—San Francisco Chronicle

The protean Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis retells the story of the most beloved of saints—Francis of Assisi, who permanently changed the way people think about following God. Drawing on the traditional stories of the saint’s life, Kazantzakis infuses the tale with a fervent vision that is uniquely his own, highlighting the saint’s heroic
single-mindedness in the face of extreme physical and spiritual suffering. He portrays the saint as a great lover and inspiring leader who embraced radical poverty in the face of many obstacles and temptations while achieving a way of life marked by epic generosity.
 


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Customer Reviews

The writing is lyric, intense, and inspiring.
George Kirazian
As Kazantzakis says in the prologue that many a times while writing this book, the manuscript was smudged with large tears and so will be your copy.
Harsimran Kalsi
In SAINT FRANCIS, Kazantzakis has re-created the story of Christianity's best-known, most human, and most beloved saint -- Francis of Assisi.
Michail Kyril

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Debra Varney on April 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
I read this book a year ago while on Spring break with my husband and two little daughters. It completely took me away and put me on a higher spiritual level that lasted a long time. Kazantzakis somehow captured the essence of what St. Francis was all about...St. Francis was a man who truly tried to do what Jesus said to do, sell everything you have, give it to the poor, pick up His cross daily and follow Him. The feeling I get when I read the book was one of actually being with St. Francis and understanding why so many followed him and liked him. I am in the middle of reading it again (another Spring break!), and I see why I loved it so much the first time. It's a great novel, even if you aren't a Christian, because the characters and the writing are so good, but being a Christian adds a spiritual level that makes me want to read this book over and over, even though I think I am so far from where St. Francis was! It makes one think about what Jesus really said and what it would be like to TRULY do what He said! I highly recommend it.
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64 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Michail Kyril on March 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
Saint Francis is a passionate and highly personal vision of the life of Francis of Assisi, the poor man of God, by the late Nikos Kazantzakis, author of The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel (1958), The Last Temptation of Christ (1960), Zorba the Greek (1953), The Greek Passion (1954) and Freedom or Death (1956). (Note: dates are those of the first American editions.)

Nikos Kazantzakis' books transcend the usual limitations of the novel: they go beyond the mere telling of an exciting story and enter the sublime world of the spirit. Their themes are powerful and heroic, for above all they are concerned with the struggle between good and evil in man's soul, and with the ability of ordinary men, at all times in history, to leave behind their daily occupations and their pleasures and to dedicate themselves to a noble ideal, often at the cost of their lives.

In Freedom or Death, Kazantzakis wrote of the mortal combat between Greek and Turk on his native island of Crete; in the THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, he wrote of the Saviour's spiritual passion and agony as He prepares His own martyrdom. In SAINT FRANCIS, Kazantzakis has re-created the story of Christianity's best-known, most human, and most beloved saint -- Francis of Assisi.

It is a historical novel, and the reader will grasp in it all the miseries and glory of medieval Italy. But Kazantzakis has not limited himself to the retelling of this well-known story. He has tried to show us Saint Francis as a person, tempted by the life that is offered to him and the comforts of his home, but driven by his own restless spirit to rise above the level of his fellow men and to assert his belief in goodness and submission. Kazantzakis' Francis is not the calm and undisturbed saint of legend, preaching to the animals.
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Dim M. Ploumidis on December 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am pleased to find that a number of reviewers find this book life-changing. It presents the entire anguish of human being, and it is the book that describes one of the highest concerns of Kazantzakis, an issue that he deals on several other books, but never with such fever: the desire of the human being to talk with God, and the depths that the human mind has to go in believing and disbelieving, in facing irrationality and hearing the voice of God.

You do not have to be religious in the strict christian sense. If that is the case, then this book might be offending, as it presents the passions of man that tries to reach God in an 'uncoventional' way, that does not abide by the doctrine of the church.

Still, I was deeply affected and deeply shaken by this book, more than any other book of Kazantazakis that I have read. Reading it was a 'passion' in itself. I had to reach the same depths, and I felt some of the anguish of St. Francis, as presented by Kazantakis. A lst remark. Do not compare the book with a biography. St. Francis is a tragic hero, an embodiment of mans religious passions, an example of faith.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By E.S. Kraay on February 17, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In 1972, I read The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis. I will always consider it one of the greatest books ever written. I found it an incredibly faith-affirming book and it changed my life as it changed my outlook on Jesus Christ. Thirty-five years later, I decided to read Saint Francis.

I was very disappointed. Not because it is a bad book, but because it fell way short of what I expected. Over the last three decades, I would say to anyone, "Open The Last Temptation of Christ to any page, and read. The words flow from each page like poetry." Such was not the case with Saint Francis.

I had a similar experience recently with Par Lagerkvist. I read Barabbas 40 years ago and then read The Sybil last year. I'll remember Mr. Lagerkvist for Barabbas, not for the disappointing Sybil. Similarly, I will remember Mr. Kazantzakis for the Last Temptation, not for Saint Francis. I truly believe that my failure to connect with these books recently is because of the translation, not because the author's work was of less value.

Saint Francis is a dark book of personal sacrifice. I continually saw visions of the Opus Dei sect as I read the book. Francis clearly led a life of personal sacrifice dedicated to the glory of God, but the translation left me empty and not inspired. I'll not refute any of the superlative reviews that this book has earned, but from this man's point of view, I'll be cautious in the future when selecting translated material regardless of the author.
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