'...the folly isn't mine. It's God's Folly. Even in the old days He never asked men to do what was reasonable. Men can do that for themselves. They can buy and sell, heal and govern. But then out of some deep place comes the command to do what makes no sense at all - to build a ship on dry land; to sit among the dunghills; to marry a whore; to set ...
'...the folly isn't mine. It's God's Folly. Even in the old days He never asked men to do what was reasonable. Men can do that for themselves. They can buy and sell, heal and govern. But then out of some deep place comes the command to do what makes no sense at all - to build a ship on dry land; to sit among the dunghills; to marry a whore; to set their son on the altar of sacrifice. Then, if men have faith, a new thing comes.' Dean Jocelin has a vision: that God has chosen him to erect a great spire on his cathedral. His mason anxiously advises against it, for the old cathedral was built without foundations. Nevertheless, the spire rises octagon upon octagon, pinnacle by pinnacle, until the stone pillars shriek and the ground beneath it swims. Its shadow falls ever darker on the world below, and on Dean Jocelin in particular.
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I love the medieval world and have studied the Middle Ages for many years. With few exceptions, though, I am disappointed by novels set in the period. They are either historically accurate but written in a plodding style and filled with wooden characters, or are stylishly written but full of inaccuracies and filled with characters who think 21st Century thoughts.
William Golding's "The Spire" is an exception: beautifully written, historically accurate, and peopled by characters with authentic medieval mindsets. At the same time, the events and conflicts in it reflect human characteristics that are universal, even today.
Golding was a Nobel laureate, and although this book is not one of his best known, it bears the hallmarks of a master. I highly recommend it.
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