Thursday, March 06, 2008

Lunchtime read: Helena

The blurb on the dust jacket warns the reader that this is not the usual Waugh satirical novel. Towards the end you can only conclude it is a story framed in historical legend that is designed to show the power of Christianity and the miracles it could evoke to a sceptical people.

Helena pitches up in the Holy Land and is given a dream of where the cross has been hidden and sure enough she finds it. The holy relic cures a woman near death’s door and sets the Roman Empire into raptures. She has shown a devotion and a determination to find the cross and show her devotion to the Christian faith.

Her end is fitting for a woman who saw the world and tried to fight injustice wherever she went

The story shows flashes of humnour but this is not a satire and something quite different is being said here and if anything it is a memorable because of the mirror it holds up to the insecure and political society that was meant to be the greatest in the ancient world.

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