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John the Pupil: A Novel by David Flusfeder

John the Pupil: A Novel

by David Flusfeder

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Didn't find this amazing. I read as an ebook which was not formatted like the book i'd imagine, with notes and different font types and made to look like an old manuscript...all the things to get you in the mood for a pretend discovered narrative like this. Story was fine, characters fine. Wont run out to find something else by him. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Sep 16, 2016 |
David Flusfeder’s John the Pupil is one of those books you enter like a world. Within a few sentences, you find yourself living inside of it—and your immediate surroundings become no more than white noise. The thirteenth century, in which it takes place, is an era of terror and knowledge.

The John of the title is a student of Roger Bacon. Along with two of his Franciscan brothers, John has been sent on a pilgrimage to Rome with the goal of delivering a new book by Bacon to the Pope, Clement IV. This journey is traveled on foot for the most part, and in the tradition of their order the Franciscans are expected to preach daily for alms that will provide them with food and, sometimes, housing.

The pace of the book is slow, as is a pilgrimage on foot. John records events on scraps of parchment, labeling the entries with the names of the Saints’ Days on which they were written. One day is much like the next: sore feet, the constant threat of violence, and an inner dialogue that John uses to try to understand the meaning of his journey even as he undertakes it. This pacing is part of what makes the book so all-consuming—it pulls readers into the rhythms of life from seven centuries ago.

Flusfeder’s prose is both beautiful and unadorned, true to the book’s era as is the pace. Wording is simple, but precise. Sparseness, rather than rich detail, is what brings these characters to life.

Give yourself the pleasure of reading this book. Let yourself settle into its rhythms and language and experience a world we left long ago. ( )
  Sarah-Hope | Mar 2, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062339184, Hardcover)

The extraordinary new novel from David Flusfeder chronicles a pilgrimage to Rome made by three young men with a secret burden. But they will meet with temptation along the way...'John the Pupil' is a medieval road movie, Umberto Eco seen through the eyes of Quentin Tarrantino, recounting the journey taken from Oxford to Viterbo in 1267 by John and his two companions, at the behest of the friar and magus Roger Bacon, carrying a secret burden to His Holiness Clement IV. As well as having to fight off ambushes from thieves hungry for the thing of power they are carrying, the holy trio are tried and tempted by all sorts of sins: ambition, pride, lust - and by the sheer hell and heaven of medieval life. Erudite and earthy, horrifying, comic, humane, David Flusfeder's extraordinary novel reveals to the reader a world very different and all too like the one we live in now.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:34 -0400)

"John the Pupil is a medieval road movie in book form, recounting the journey taken from Oxford to Viterbo in 1267 by John and his two companions. Modeling themselves after Saint Francis, the trio treks by foot through Europe, preaching the gospel and begging for sustenance"--… (more)

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