Salvation: Scenes from the Life of St. Francis

Valerie Martin

Published by Vintage, 2002
ISBN 10: 0375708839 / ISBN 13: 9780375708831
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Synopsis: Inspired by the fresco cycles that depict the life of St. Francis of Assisi, acclaimed author Valerie Martin tells the life of Francesco di Pietro Bernardone in a series of vividly realized “panels” of moments both crucial and ordinary. Drawing from myriad sources and moving in reverse chronological order, she begins in the dark, final days, with a suffering Francesco on the verge of death, then shows us the unwashed and innocent revolutionary, unafraid to lecture a pope on Christ’s message. We see his mystical friendship with Chiara di Offreducci, a nobleman’s daughter who turns her back on the world to join him, and finally, the frivolous young Francesco on the deserted road where his encounter with a leper leads him to an ecstatic embrace of God. Salvation is at once an illuminating glimpse into the medieval world and an original and intimate portrait of the man whose legend has resonated through the centuries.

Review: Salvation by novelist Valerie Martin imagines the life of St. Francis of Assisi in the form of short, vivid scenes. She begins at the end, with his death in 1226, and then moves backward in time, ending with his youth and conversion. Martin has mined all of the early hagiographies of St. Francis in order to fill her book with sharp details ("his eyebrows met above the bridge of his nose"). She has carefully corrected some popular misconceptions about her subject: "He was not so much a nature lover (he was certainly neither an environmentalist nor a vegetarian) as a man who saw no distinction between himself in the natural world." And although she is not particularly religious, she clearly describes the spiritual significance of poverty. Salvation is not a defense of St. Francis or an argument about his significance in the contemporary world, but many readers will interpret its stories in a way that fulfills both. Many contemporary Christians are hungry for precisely this kind of story, about a person whose faith was so deep and dedication so strong that he sacrificed everything--even most Christian doctrine--in order to become like his Lord. --Michael Joseph Gross

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Title: Salvation: Scenes from the Life of St. ...
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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