“Christina the Astonishing (1150 – 1224)”
by Kirstin Valdez Quade
from the July 31, 2017 issue of The New Yorker
We’ve been impressed with the two former New Yorker offerings from Kirstin Valdez Quade: “Ordinary Sins,” from 2014, and “The Five Wounds,” from 2009. I’m personally intrigued by this one because I think it’s fascinating to delve into the lives of saints and nuns from the medieval period. I’m not entirely sure yet if that’s just what “Christina the Astonishing (1150 – 1224)” does, but the story is based on stories of the real Christina the Astonishing, through the eyes of her sister Mara. It begins with Christina about to rise from the dead:
The prises holds the host aloft, the linen sleeves of his alb falling around him like wings. He intones the Agnus Dei, and we sing with him. I can scarcely for the words, my throat is so clotted with grief. Beside me, my sister Gertrude tightens her grasp on my hand.
I look forward to the discussion below, as always!