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Summary

It is the late 15th century and a village healer in Russia called Laurus is powerless to help his beloved as she dies in childbirth, unwed and without having received communion. Devastated and desperate, he sets out on a journey in search of redemption. But this is no ordinary journey: it is one that spans ages and countries, and which brings him face-to-face with a host of unforgettable, eccentric characters and legendary creatures from the strangest medieval bestiaries.

Laurus's travels take him from the Middle Ages to the Plague of 1771, where as a holy fool he displays miraculous healing powers, to the political upheavals of the late 20th century. At each transformative stage of his journey, he becomes more revered by the church and the people, until he decides, one day, to return to his home village to lead the life of a monastic hermit - not realizing that it is here that he will face his most difficult trial yet.

Laurus is a remarkably rich novel about the eternal themes of love, loss, self-sacrifice, and faith, from one of Russia's most exciting and critically acclaimed novelists.

©2015 Eugene Vodolazkin; translation copyright 2015 by Lisa C. Hayden (P)2017 Tantor

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Profile Image for Yixiao
  • Yixiao
  • 27-11-17

Speechless

buy a hard copy as well!
read, re-read, doesn't matter you are religious or not but definitely helps if you know a thing or two about Russian Orthodoxy much like Brothers Karamazov. When you know nothing about Russia's spiritual heritage, books like this are still AAA grade reading material. If you are sympathetic to Orthodox spirituality, then the reading experience would be stratospherically enhanced- an altogether tear inducing, core shaking experience.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Diogenes Pendergast
  • Diogenes Pendergast
  • 13-11-17

A true modern classic

I don't care much for modern literary fiction, but this amazing novel shows that all is not lost for modern era. And as if to contradict me, almost none of the novel takes place in the modern era (although there are time jumps).

This is a compelling story of a love found and lost, of a boy growing up a healer, of dealing with death, ubiquitous in the land of the Medieval Rus'. It is also an incredibly pious story, a story of a man's struggle to come to terms with his lost love through pious acts of healing, and becoming a 'holy fool.'

A must-read (listen)!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful