Spare And Sublime: A Monastery's Spell Of 'Silence' Patrick Leigh Fermor's A Time To Keep Silence replicates in style and rhythm the very experience that it seeks to describe. The 95-page book recounts Fermor's visits to several French monasteries in the 1950s, and writer Adam Haslett found the book draws readers into deep contemplation.
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Spare And Sublime: A Monastery's Spell Of 'Silence'

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Spare And Sublime: A Monastery's Spell Of 'Silence'

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Spare And Sublime: A Monastery's Spell Of 'Silence'

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ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

Haslett has this recommendation as part of our series You Must Read This, in which authors talk about a book they love.

ADAM HASLETT: At a mere 95 pages, it's a short read, yet nothing about it makes you want to rush. In the mid-1950s, Fermor, an English travel writer who as a young man once walked from Holland to Turkey, became interested in the life of monks. He decided to visit several Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries in France.

A T: It replicates in style and rhythm the very experience that it seeks to describe. The writing is spare, exactingly precise, and then occasionally quite beautiful, just as the lives of the monks we hear about are pared down, highly concentrated and every now and then sublime. In short, it's a book about the contemplative life that delivers the reader into a contemplation of his or her own.

HASLETT: I had my walks in the woods in Maine last summer. I had my own time to keep silence, and I was lucky enough to have Fermor's book along with me. We can't all be monks, and most of us wouldn't want to be, but the genius of excellent writing is that we can know something of what that other life is.

SIEGEL: To join NPR's brand-new book club, you could go online to Facebook and then search for NPR Books and hit like.

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