Saint Therese of Lisieux by Kathryn Harrison
(Penguin Lives)

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Synopsis

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, largely unknown when she died in a Carmelite convent at the age of twenty-four, became-through her posthumously published autobiography-one of the world's most influential religious figures. In Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, bestselling novelist and memoirist Kathryn Harrison, whose depictions of women have been called "powerful" (The New York Times Book Review) and "luminously intelligent" (The Boston Sunday Globe), brings to the saint's life her storytelling gift and deep insight as she reveals the hopes and fears of the young girl behind the religious icon.

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux shows us the pampered daughter of successful and deeply religious tradespeople who-through a personal appeal to the pope-entered a convent at the early age of fifteen. There, Thérèse embraced sacrifice and self-renunciation in a single-minded pursuit of the "nothingness" she felt would bring her closer to God. With feeling, Harrison shows us the sensitive four-year-old whose mother's death haunted her forever and contributed to the ascetic spirituality that strengthened her to embrace even the deadly throes of tuberculosis. Tellingly placed in the context of late-nineteenth-century French social and religious practices, this is a powerful story of a life lived with enormous passion and a searing, triumphant voyage of the spirit.

 

About Kathryn Harrison

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Kathryn Harrison has written the novels Thicker Than Water, Exposure, Poison, The Binding Chair, The Seal Wife, and Envy. Her autobiographical work includes The Kiss, Seeking Rapture, The Road to Santiago, and The Mother Knot. She has also written a biography, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and, most recently, a book of true crime, While They Slept: An Inquiry into the Murder of a Family. She lives in New York with her husband, the novelist Colin Harrison, and their three children.
 
Published August 18, 2003 by Viking. 236 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Religion & Spirituality, Literature & Fiction, History. Non-fiction

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She is a bit more suspicious of the swiftness of Thérèse’s transformation from scourge to vessel of substitutive suffering, between mortal and divine, living and dying: “Grace, alchemy, masochism: through whatever lens we view her transport, Thérèse’s night of illumination presented both its powe...

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The Guardian

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Saint Thérèse of Lisieux by Kathryn Harrison Weidenfeld & Nicholson £14.99, pp160 Thérèse's life was, in Kathryn Harrison's words, dedicated to 'nothingness, hiddenness, self-denied to the point of invisibility'.

Nov 30 2003 | Read Full Review of Saint Therese of Lisieux (Pen...

The Guardian

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Saint Thérèse of Lisieux Kathryn Harrison 224pp, Weidenfeld, £14.99 Kathryn Harrison begins her biography of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux with a fanfare, promising you a tale filled with wild hopes and bleak anguish, a heroine with a great will and a "violent", "annihilating" view of religion.

Jan 03 2004 | Read Full Review of Saint Therese of Lisieux (Pen...

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