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Summary

Winner of the PEN/Ackerley Prize 2013

At 14, Richard Holloway left his home in the Vale of Leven, north of Glasgow, and travelled hundreds of miles to be educated and trained for the priesthood by a religious order in an English monastery. By 25, he had been ordained and was working in the slums of Glasgow. Throughout the following 40 years, Richard touched the lives of many people in the Church and in the wider community. But behind his confident public face lay a restless, unquiet heart and a constantly searching mind.

Richard Holloway reads his number two Sunday Times best-selling memoir with honesty, emotion, and great character. It was directed by Matt Thompson with music by Capella Nova.

©2012 Richard Holloway (P)2012 Canongate Books Ltd

Critic reviews

“A wonderfully honest and deeply moving reflection on the nature of doubt, saintly almost in its modesty - though Holloway might not like my saying so. A breath of fresh doubt that so many of us need, whether believer or nonbeliever, and I'm both.” (MICHAEL MORPURGO)

What listeners say about Leaving Alexandria

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An honest and moving memoir

An exceptional book. If you are interested in Anglo Catholicism and the dreadful knots and schisms it has experienced over the last thirty or forty years, Richard Holloway's account of his life within the church and the politics of religion is fascinating.

The tragedy of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, the decisions and divisions which resulted from that date, are laid bare and the church is seen in all its arrogance.

Richard Holloway reads his own book bravely, sings and recites poetry - lays himself bare to the reader/listener.

For anyone who has questioned his/her own faith, admired religious men and women for their dedication but worried about whether they also have crises of faith along the way, for believers and sceptics alike, this book illustrates and discusses the decisions we make in life and the trials and consequences we inevitably face.

6 people found this helpful

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An admirable man’s struggle with his faith

In his own words Richard Holloway relates the story of his life from a humble background in the Vale of Leven in the West of Scotland through different callings both here and abroad to his final appointment as Primus of the Episcopal church in Scotland.

It is a highly personal story as he tells of his innermost feelings with no holds barred. I am sorry to hear of how tormented he has been by his struggles over his religious faith, but interested how his beliefs have evolved and mellowed over his life. He stands out as a humane and caring man who has dedicated his life to helping others, not least LGBT community for whom he has been a courageous supporter, and for others also shunned by religious people who stick rigidly to what they see as the immutable doctrines of faith as set down in the bible. As a non-believer I cheer his arguments demonstrating the irrationality and illogicality of some of these doctrines, however his questioning of these tenets of faith often got him in hot water and released some vicious responses that I imagine would have appalled Jesus

A most interesting and thought-provoking book for both those with and without religious faith.

Read excellently (and at times sung!) by the author the narrative seems even more personal and moving.

2 people found this helpful

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Fascinating and inspiring

If you want to read or listen to a book that tips you over the edge of what you believe, this is an honest account of the inside of being a priest.

How far the church and religion has come from the original Jesus.

I love this mans books. Have also listened to A Little History of Religion. They have confirmed what I experienced and why I can no longer worship in any kind of church. Give me the green fields and nature and there I will find God.

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Reflections on Attempting to Find God

This true story grabbed my attention from the beginning because the central figure desires whole heartedly to serve God through entering the Christian priesthood. Since many Christians wrestle with questions about lifestyle changes, what pleases God and the truth of the Bible, listening to one sincere man's struggle throughout his lifetime helps me to see that even if one tries everything that seems to lead to a close walk with God, deep soul satisfaction doesn't necessarily embed in the heart. Rather than try all of these oneself, we can learn from Robert Holloway's experiences. His final thoughts are full of despair but not of hopelessness. The reader has an appropriate Scottish accent and sings when singing is called for, which I much prefer hearing than reading when it is meant to be a song.

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A wonderful memoir, beautifully read

Having recently read with great interest Richard Holloway's Waiting for the Last Bus and Loves and Doubts, I was keen to listen to this autobiographical memoir read by the man himself. I loved it - for it's warm humanism, it's honest criticisms of religion and it's institutions, and its fascinating tale of a journey from faith to doubt that is always filled with compassion for his fellow man. Richard's reading of his own memoir is superb and often moving. I look forward to reading more of his books.

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  • Thomas Patricia Orzechowski
  • 19-10-21

It started out a little slow but hang in there.

The book is a winner. Full of insight and excellent theology. Well narrated. So glad I kept on just as I was about to switch to another book. Really worth the listen/read.