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The Convent Paperback – 6 Jan 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (6 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099502798
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099502791
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 221,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Unexpectedly haunting, its details catching like splinters in that part of the imagination that responds to pure storytelling" (Times Literary Supplement)

"The Convent is at once a still, almost silent thing, and a blistering human drama...Karnezis's great skill is in evoking the haunting beauty of lost places and souls... There is a strength and confidence to Karnezis's prose" (The Times)

"Impressive... We witness justice and injustice, theological controversy, the politics of a tiny enclosed society, despair, cruelty, generosity, scandal, suspicion, and suicide, all told with immense verve and skill" (Sunday Times)

"An impressive addition to the works of a master storyteller" (Independent)

"This fragrant, fond and faintly otherworldly novel, with its final, poignant twist, is a memorable read" (The Lady)

Book Description

A major new novel from one of our finest young writers, author of Little Infamies and The Maze.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Peeking Man on 10 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
THE CONVENT, is set in a small, secluded convent in Andalusia, between the wars. A new-born baby is left at the door of the convent in a suitcase. The child is taken to Sister María Inés, the mother superior, who interprets the child as a sign from God and immediately resolves to raise the boy herself, with the assistance of the other five nuns, rather than take him to the public orphanage. Sister María Inés is a trained nurse who has spent several years working as a missionary in Africa.

Sister Ana is ambitious and a rival to Sister María Inés. She strongly disapproves of keeping the baby at the convent on doctrinal, legal and humanitarian grounds. Sister María Inés runs roughshod over her objections. Of the other three nuns, Sister Beatriz, who has been ill for some weeks before the story begins, is the only one to wholeheartedly support Sister María.

Before becoming a nun, Sister María had not led an entirely sinless life. In fact, she had a brief and intense love affair with a navel cadet, through which she became pregnant, had an abortion and, as the cadet died soon afterwards of typhoid fever, has lived ever since ridden with guilt and in expectation of the immediate wrath of God. For her, the arrival of the child is a sign of her redemption.

As the conflict grows between Sisters María Inés and Ana, they both behave in increasingly irrational ways. Sister Ana finds a bloodstained sheet that has been buried in the garden; she searches some abandoned buildings attached to the convent and discovers a corner of floor that has been scrubbed clean with traces of blood on the crack between the floorboards.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback
This is a very, very impressive little book. It is beautiful and very moving and slightly tragic. It's a book about good and evil and sin and duty and religious duty and human moral duty. Everyone's motives, misguided or not, are understandable, and they twine together to what is often described as an "inexorable" conclusion. This is a sharp, feeling piece - very much worth a read. The best of Karnes' works I've read so far.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John D. Wallace on 19 April 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a most unusual and beautifully written story based around life in a convent in Spain. As well as the basic and well-constructed plot, the book give a wonderful insight into the way the twentieth century gradually imposes itself upon the life of the convent. The characters are well-drawn and completly convincing and the story line has the reader hanging on to the story right up to the final page. Highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Never come across this author before. So much rubbish on the market given to us by editors. So I give this five stars because it is a breath of fresh air: a book with history, a sense of place and time that is not marred by modern eyes, and a story that makes you turn the pages. It has charm. Just a simply good book.

Rather grand mother superior finds baby on step and it throws the world of the nuns and all their petty rivalries up in the air. The descriptions of Spain and the convent are captivating. We feel sympathy for some hard characters. The view of the period and the church draws you in. And there are just enough twists and turns. My one criticism is that there are too many voices and the author nearly lost a reader over that. But good, damned good. If I may use the phrase.
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By reader on 26 Sept. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well written. Good story, developed well. Easy to read and very engaging. Characters well drawn and interesting subjects included in story.
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