I love this book.

I took A Canticle for Leibowitz down off the shelf yesterday evening for the first time in a couple of years and it kept me up late. I love this book but frequently forget why: After all it’s dour, pessimistic and kind of episodic. But it is so filled with sly ironies such as…

Hongan Os was essentially a just and kindly man. When he saw a party of his warriors making sport of the Laradan captives, he paused to watch; but when they tied three Laradans by their ankles between horses and whipped the horses into frenzied flight, Hongan Os decided to intervene. He ordered that the warriors be flogged on the spot, for Hongan Os – Mad Bear – was known to be a merciful chieftain. He had never mistreated a horse.

Which made me laugh out loud, not at all for the first time that evening.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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3 Responses to I love this book.

  1. The Neon Madman says:

    That is a fantastic book. I first read it at least 40 years ago, and multiple times since.

  2. Mike says:

    A Canticle for Leibowitz… Wow, that’s a blast from the past.

  3. Malatrope says:

    Possibly the most important book of the last century, imho. I first read it when I was about ten, when nuke fears were all the rage, so that might have colored my opinion. The intense feeling of “everything old is new again”, and the hopelessness of human nature hasn’t been replicated in any other work.

    And yet it seems to keep a certain hesitant optimism throughout. Plus, of course, the dark humor you pointed out…

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