Other Sellers on Amazon
Enter your mobile phone or email address
By pressing "Send link," you agree to Amazon's Conditions of Use.
You consent to receive an automated text message from or on behalf of Amazon about the Kindle App at your mobile number above. Consent is not a condition of any purchase. Message & data rates may apply.
Follow the Author
The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness Paperback – February 22, 2005
Explore your book, then jump right back to where you left off with Page Flip.
View high quality images that let you zoom in to take a closer look.
Enjoy features only possible in digital – start reading right away, carry your library with you, adjust the font, create shareable notes and highlights, and more.
Discover additional details about the events, people, and places in your book, with Wikipedia integration.
Enhance your purchase
The Amazon Book Review
Book recommendations, author interviews, editors' picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
“A story about becoming human, being recognized, finally recognizing oneself. . . . It fills the reader with hope.” –The Washington Post Book World
“Riveting. . . . It’s a pleasure to read simply because it’s honest and hopeful. . . . Armstrong is such an evocative writer.” –Newsday
“I loved this powerful and moving account, and read it nonstop.” –Elaine Pagels, author of Beyond Belief
“In . . . Armstrong’s memoir there lurks wisdom about the making and remaking of a life . . . from which all of us could learn.” –The New York Times Book Review
“A powerful memoir. . . . Buoyed by keen intelligence and unflinching self-awareness and honesty. . . . Armstrong is an engaging, energetic writer.” –The Christian Science Monitor
“Candid and compelling, and the sentences are flawless.” –The Dallas Morning News
From the Back Cover
- Publisher : Anchor; Reprint edition (February 22, 2005)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 305 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0385721277
- ISBN-13 : 978-0385721271
- Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #123,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I identified with a lot of KA's life experiences, having entered a religious community around the time she did, though her community was clearly pretty awful. She went through a lot and came out the other side, once she got properly diagnosed as epileptic. It's a useful journey, and I'm glad I read it.
At this stage of my life, it's hard for me to understand how people can come to any other view than the one she came to about God. Once you read (for example) Thomas Aquinas's teaching that all talk about God is analogical, not literal, the game should be up. Theology is poetry. I get it! True, yes, just not literally so. One small cavil would be that she was an English major, so this is probably the way an English major would view theology! Others of us might like a dip into the waters of philosophical speculation. Pick your poison.
I am born Christian, love the parables and the New Testament. I also count myself fortunate to have been born at a time and place of relative acceptance in India, whereby these interests were allowed to bear fruit.
Exposure to people of different faiths as Karen observes, helps us realize that in compassion we can transcend ourselves.
Hinduism and Buddhism Teach us how to live in the now and transcend our egos. The mystical traditions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism have almost identical ends. Reading some passages of Thomas Merton for example is akin to reading a passage from the Upanishads on self. Religion is a transformative, not an intellectual experience.
My take on how to read this book - read it with observations on how you feel, specially if you have the urge to criticize. Ask yourself why you do not like something she says. Do not read it as a work of scholarship but as a work to be first experienced and then critiqued. I think that is a form of compassion.
Armstrong's candor, compassion and vulnerability are evident throughout the book. Once you finish reading it, you feel like you know the author intimately - and you do - because she allows herself to be open and vulnerable for the reader. There are times when you feel sympathy, others when you feel empathy, but you always feel the vulnerability and the humanity.
The book itself is a great read - I would classify it as nearly a page-turner. It is like watching a train wreck, but knowing that Armstrong is a preeminent author, it is also inspiring and awe provoking. In essence, the reader will find it hard to believe that Armstrong could become the woman she is given her experience - and yet it is that very experience and the humanity of it that makes the book an inspiration.