26 March 2010

The Bread of Angels

Let me begin this review with thanks to LibraryThing and Doubleday for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book. The Bread of Angels is a memoir by Stephanie Saldana in which she remembers her year in Damascus, Syria studying Islam, culture, as well as other religions of the world. Trying to run away from herself and her family, her Fulbright Scholarship gave her this perfect opportunity. After a year of running, Saldana finds that she has stopped running away and is running to her future with an open heart and mind.

I would rather not say too much more about Saldana’s story other than the fact that while she is praying in a centuries old monastery, she meets and falls in love with a novice French monk. Away from the monastery, Saldana’s days are spent learning Arabic, studying the Quran, having coffee with Grandfather, and learning how to love herself and her family. The beauty of the book is in her intricate descriptions of places and people that most of us will never encounter. In a post 9/11 world, Saldana navigates the Middle East with some trepidation, but finds that she is as horrified as her new neighbors by the violence that is occurring in Iraq and Lebanon. Visits to the desert monastery are more journeys of the soul than the body and as I read, I longed for the silence of the places she walked – places she met Jesus and Mary. In absolute balance, Saldana met the Jesus and Mary of the Quran as well.

I enjoyed this book from start to finish. Culture and religion and love fill the pages of this memoir and after a bit of time has passed, I might just read this book again.

TITLE: The Bread of Angels: A Journey to Love and Faith
AUTHOR: Stephanie Saldana
PAGES: 303
TYPE: non-fiction, memoir
RECOMMEND: A wonderfully peaceful book to read, even in the midst of chaos.


Dawn said...

Sounds like an interested book-thanks for the review-stopping by to say hi from SITS Saturday Sharefest!

Laurie said...

Dropping in via SITS. I am helping a poor community in the slums outside of Tegucigalpa start a community library. By the way, libraries as we know them are almost nonexistent in Honduras. The children as well as the parents are delighted wtih our 60 books to date. I use empty Sunday school classrooms on Saturday, and we hope to expand by taking the books mobile. Should be interesting.

Julie M. said...

This looks like a great book! We are just starting up a book club with our moms group and I will add this one to the list. Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest and have a great weekend!