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Spiritual Exercise 

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-1413722550
ISBN-10: 1413722555
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 269 pages
  • Publisher: PublishAmerica (December 20, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1413722555
  • ISBN-13: 978-1413722550
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,413,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Reading Shai's novel brought to mind an obscure and beautiful aphorism from Beyond Good and Evil (278), and Nietzsche's famous observation that every philosophy, at bottom, is no more (nor less) than the personal confession of its author. A Spiritual Exercise, too, is a profound meditation on masks, the psychology of human relations, and power. The narrator, Stefan Fomes, a young, ambitious academic in the pretentious world of art history and curation, describes how, in T.S. Eliot's words, "[t]o prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." Not one mask, not one face, but many, each designed for a purpose. Masks for friends, lovers, spouses, relations, enemies, colleagues, social superiors and subordinates, and on and on. We live most of our waking lives behind masks, and indeed, as Fomes says early in the novel, must; society could hardly function without them. Yet Fomes's self-conscious acknowledgment and adoption of masks distinguishes him. Most of us grow so accustomed to our masks that we scarcely realize we wear them. Fomes consciously adopts, designs, retools, and discards masks in an effort to achieve his ambitions: power, money, prestige. Shai's prose is engaging and unpretentious, and the novel becomes a page-turner shortly after the initial character development, which is itself compelling and refreshingly devoid of cliches or caricatures.
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