The Book of Mercy by Kathleen Cambor

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The Book of Mercy is the story of Edmund Mueller, a retired fireman tormented by memories of his flamboyant wife, Fanny, and her disappearance from his life years ago. Suffering from isolation, Edmund become fascinated with the art of alchemy, with the works of Paracelsus and Hermes Trismegistus, and the search for the Elixir of Life, which will enable him, he believes, to transmute base metals into gold. The cause of his obsession is a harrowing mystery plumbed by his daughter, Anne, and the resident tending him during his institutionalization.
Interwoven with Edmund’s tale of that of his daughter. Abandoned by her mother while still a baby, Anne learns to take shreds of love where she find them, from her burdened brother and distant father, then from the string of lovers she pursues. She counts on her wits and willfulness to lead her through her unexamined life. It is only when she takes up psychiatry and tries to find the heart to deal with her troubled patients that she begins to know herself and comes to understand that her life, like her father’s, has been a search for magic—a quest for the transforming power of love.

About Kathleen Cambor

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Kathleen Cambor is a PEN/Faulkner nominee and author of The Book of Mercy (FSG, 1996). She is the director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston and lives in Houston with her husband.
Published June 26, 1996 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 261 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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 Cambor's first outing is an old-fashioned, frequently moving, always sweepingly readable tale of one family's long-extended suffering, decline, and final qualified hope.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Book of Mercy

Publishers Weekly

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The intriguing subject of a modern man's fascination with alchemy and Cambor's haiku-sharp prose distinguish her impressive first novel. This is a book about storytelling and how we use it: Forget t

Jun 03 1996 | Read Full Review of The Book of Mercy

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