Unbridled Books/non-fiction, spirituality, history
Release Date: June 12, 2012
Afterlives of the Saints is a woven gathering of groundbreaking essays that move through Renaissance anatomy and the Sistine Chapel, Borges’ “Library of Babel,” the history of spontaneous human combustion, the dangers of masturbation, the pleasures of castration, “and so forth” – each essay focusing on the story of a particular (and particularly strange) saint.
I am not of a religion that recognizes saints, but I do have a peculiar fascination with them. The seemingly benign lives that took a turn, catapulting them into the eyes of the public, often ending in a martyrs death…yet, if they lived in the present day, they would surely be declared mentally unfit and institutionalized. Were they crazy or truly touched by God? Are we medicating God out of our populace?
It was with great anticipation that I opened this book, and with great relief I closed the covers after slogging through a mediocre collection of essays. A mundane selection of saints and fairly uninteresting commentary leaves the artwork portraying the saints as the only redeeming value in the book.
My verdict: Skip it. There are better choices available.