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A Canticle for Leibowitz (Bantam Spectra Book) Paperback – September 2, 1997
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Angry, eloquent ... a terrific story. The New York Times
An extraordinary novel ... Prodigiously imaginative, richly comic, terrifyingly grim, profound both intellectually and morally, and, above all ... simply such a memorable story as to stay with the reader for years. Chicago Tribune
An exciting and imaginative story ... Unconditionally recommended. Library Journal --Library Journal
Top Customer Reviews
The only character who appears in all three sections is the Wandering Jew--borrowed from the anti-Semitic legend of a man who mocked Jesus on the way to the crucifixion and who was condemned to a vagrant life on earth until Judgment Day. Miller resurrects this European slander and sanitizes him as a curmudgeonly hermit, a voice of reason in a desert wilderness, an observer to humankind's repeated stupidities, a friend to the monks and abbots, the biblical Lazarus, the ghost of Leibowitz (perhaps)--and even the voice of Miller himself.
Throughout "Canticle," Miller's search for religious faith clashes with his respect for scientific rationalism. For Miller, Lucifer is not a fallen angel but technological discovery unencumbered by a moral compass; "Lucifer is fallen" becomes the code phrase the future Church uses to indicate the imminent threat of a second nuclear holocaust.Read more ›
PART ONE: FIAT HOMO (5 stars) Tipped off by a mysterious old man (could it be Saint Leibowitz himself?), a nervous novice monk discovers an underground chamber that contains some highly significant relics, for which he suffers abuse from a fearful and sadistic abbot. Eventually, he is sent on a dangerous journey to New Rome, under constant threat from primitive nomads. The ending of this section is rather chilling and ironic, much like a Flannery O'Connor short story.
PART TWO: FIAT LUX (3 stars) This is the only section among the three that really is not able to stand alone as a self-contained story with a definitive ending. I suppose this could be considered the "Empire Strikes Back" of the "trilogy". The basis of this part is the mistrust that exists between religion and science, when a scholar visits the monastary to study the ancient Leibowitz documents and finds, to his astonishment, one of the monks has invented (or re-invented) the electric light. The old man reappears (remember, this is hundreds of years after the first story) as a rather significant player in this section, but, ultimately, this story is merely transitional.
PART THREE: FIAT VOLUNTUAS TUA (5 stars) I wanted to give this part 6 or 7 stars, but that would be cheating. This last section is absolutely brilliant.Read more ›
In addition to its unique take on historical processes, this book is essentially about the pros and cons of organized religion. In Part 1, humanity is stuck in the middle of several centuries of dark ages after a nuclear war, and once again the Catholic Church (or what's left of it) holds sway over a fearful and unenlightened society. Among the few records of the pre-war world that have survived are some inconsequential notes and blueprints by a minor scientist called Leibowitz. The church has made Leibowitz a saint, and here Miller appears to be commenting on the reverence of organized religion toward matters of doubtful authenticity and importance. Is religious belief built upon weak foundations? In Part 2 humanity is entering a new renaissance of knowledge, with religion being unable to adjust to the new enlightenment. In Part 3, humanity has reached a new technical age, but society is again oppressed by nuclear paranoia and mutually assured destruction.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
After a LONG time of sporadic visitations, I finished listening to the audiobook version of A CANTICLE FOR LIEBOWITZ by Walter M. Miller, Jr. Read morePublished 8 days ago by T. Hunt
I have waited many years to read this book and it was well worth it. It's a timeless novel, as relevant today as it was when it first came out. Read morePublished 8 days ago by TL88
Very interesting book. Should be required reading for all who are wondering how we got in this societal mess owe are experiencing today's but I doubt anyone would understand its... Read morePublished 10 days ago by Karen Thompson
The writing is fantastic and the subject matter needed the heavy hand that was given (atomic warfare and human stupidity), but I wanted an enjoyable escape rather than a dramatic... Read morePublished 19 days ago by sparty
I read this years ago.I remembered it and was hoping to find it again.Finally-Amazon had it.Published 1 month ago by BB
This is a great book. I'm not yet even done with it, but I am thoroughly enjoying it. It's very different from most books, unlike anything I've ever read. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer