The Pillars of The Earth by Ken Follett

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Teaser: This novel centers around the building of a beautiful church during the 12th century in England. Its goes in-depth with the people affected, the political situations created, and the building procedures. It gives us the entire story throughout many decades.

Short Thought: Rich descriptions, complex web of characters. Lengthy account, but eventually pays off with a wonderful reward. Truly powerful.

Expanded Thoughts: Ah, this is the first time I have attempted an Oprah recommended book. I thought, "Whoa Oprah is recommending historical fiction!"

The author is genius in the way he ties every event and character together while gradually building the story. He also isn't afraid to age his character or present their flaws, so my hat's off.

I think the real theme for this book was 'the grey area.' There is no true good or bad, there is just 'grey' in everyone.

Follett shows the sides of humanity that we would all like to forget existed--our greed, wrath, selfishness, psychotic nature, etc. This story made me think and reflect more than any fiction I have read thus far. Some scenes literally made so angry and disgusted (at the characters' lack of scruples) that I had to fly through the next few pages to try to erase it from my mind. I was totally shaken up.

I hope this explains why I think it is a great novel, but I will never read it again. I prefer my novels to give me that 'feel-good' escape from the mundane. Follett didn't give that 'fantasy.' Instead, he threw the harsh reality at us to remind us that we are no different in some areas than our ancestors 400 years ago.

Additional Notes: This novel contains some very disturbing scenes of violence, death, and sexual abuse.

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