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
TYPE: non-fiction, memoir
RECOMMEND: A wonderfully peaceful book to read, even in the midst of chaos.
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