Mirabilis by Susann Cokal

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 4 Critic Reviews



A medieval village under siege turns to the most unlikely saints and saviors in this darkly comic debut about religious expediency and human ecstasy.

Villeneuve, France, Anno Domini 1372. The village is under siege and people are starving when Bonne Mirabilis, wet nurse to the wealthiest and most enigmatic woman in town, realizes that she alone has the bounty with which to feed the hungry-and not by convincing her patroness to open her warehouses.

But it's a defiant act of generosity: When she was twelve years old, her sainted mother, the two priests suspected of being her father, and all the village women who believed Bonne's conception had been immaculate were locked into the church and set afire.

With a masterful sense of history and the visceral spirit of The Decameron, newcomer Susann Cokal combines the outrageous and the wondrous into the story of Bonne, a woman born "God's bastard," on her way to sainthood with the troop of ascetics, mystics, lovers, and jesters who keep her milk flowing.

Mirabilis is a remarkable and confident debut-an endlessly surprising tale about appetite and miracle, all four humors in abundance, and human ecstasy of every sort-a novel that carries the reader into that sweet rare air between the ridiculous and the sublime.

About Susann Cokal

See more books from this Author
Susann Cokal has lived in various locations in the United States and in Poitiers, France, where she found the inspiration for Mirabilis. For several years she taught at the University of California, Berkeley and this fall with join the faculty at San Luis Obispo. This is her first novel. AUTHCOMMENTS: The stories and even written texts of the Middle Ages were meant to be group affairs-someone would read or recite, and others would listen; then all were free to discuss. So I am particularly glad that your group has chosen to read Mirabilis. I hope you like it....
Published June 25, 2001 by Blue Hen. 304 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality, Young Adult, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Mirabilis

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Baroque though the story developments are (Bonne also rescues Hercule, a seeming child who turns out to be a dwarf fleeing his murderous noble master), Cokal’s elegant prose never stresses the weirdness, focusing instead on the characters’ longings for love and transcendence.

| Read Full Review of Mirabilis

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

When the English besiege Villeneuve, however, Bonne, in a sacrificial act, provides her milk to her starving neighbors.

Sep 23 2001 | Read Full Review of Mirabilis

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Bonne's life changes when she catches the eye of Radegonde Putemonnie, the town's wealthiest woman, who is pregnant with her dead husband's child and stands to inherit his fortune only if she can bear an heir.

| Read Full Review of Mirabilis

The Best Reviews

As the town is under English siege and food becomes scarce except in the home of Radegonde, Bonne allows the less fortunate townsfolk, who previously avoided her like a leper, to drink from her ever flowing breasts.

Apr 18 2002 | Read Full Review of Mirabilis

Reader Rating for Mirabilis

An aggregated and normalized score based on 29 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review