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An Uncertain Age Kindle Edition
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Become immersed in the story.
Ulrica Hume spins gold out of ink. She obviously is a highly educated person, rich in appreciation of philosophy, religion, literature, the science of color theory etc because she is able to so easily weave threads from all these arenas into her story in such a way that allows us all to learn as much about matters outside her book as we do about her characters she so surely paints.
AN UNCERTAIN AGE happens to be the age of our heroine (age 48 in years) who, disenfranchised and disenchanted with life in California, travels to France for mental refuge (think `Justine' from Durrell's Alexandria Quartet, as that is the name assigned our narrator). In a near Agatha Christie atmosphere on a train she encounters a strange English bloke and that happenstance meeting between two seemingly disparate characters blossoms into an adventure that takes our heroine into a plain of unexpected self discovery, allows the reader to learn about the junction between Catholicism/Anglicanism, Gnosticism, and Hinduism all in a manner that involves the introduction of new characters who enhance the mystery of the disappearance of the English bloke where the story begins. It is a mystery, a craving for love at an uncertain age when aspects of emotional stability and ardor seem out of reach, and a travelogue to some of the world's most interesting proscenium arches where Hume stages her intricate novel.
If the story at times strays away from linear development it matters little, as the writing of every page of this book is a visual and mental pleasure. This is the work of a writer of substance: where will she take us next? Grady Harp, February 13
Miles is obsessed with the story of Peter Abelard, someone that I was not familiar at all with. Abelard was a French scholar and philosopher that lived during medieval times (the 12 century specifically). Knowing what Abelard is about is key to understanding this book. Miles is especially focused on Abelard's relationship with Heloise, a young student who was known for her knowledge of languages. Heloise's uncle and caretaker eventually decided he had an issue with Heloise and Peter's relationship and castrated Peter and made Heloise go to the convent.
Abelard had the idea of Limbo, which was accepted by the Pope. In a way, Miles and Justine are both sort of in limbo. Miles especially is in limbo when he's missing and is on his own sort of spiritual and religious journey much like Abelard. Overtones of Abelard and Heloise's relationship are also definitely present between Miles and Justine.
The writing in this book is great. It kept me reading even when I was getting a little frustrated with the sort of background that is definitely important to know when reading this book. I think that those that really, really like philosophy and the idea of spirituality and where we find it in our own lives will get into this book. Full disclosure, I'm not a huge fan of philosophy and I definitely had to do a little research into some of the ideas throughout the book. It wasn't a deal breaker but it definitely took me out of the book a little bit. The writing really did keep me going!
Bottom line: This book may require some extra knowledge building but the writing is worth it.