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Old 03-03-2017   #271
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Re: A Pilgrim Stranger

I just finished A Pilgrim Stranger and found it to be an excellently-paced story and an enjoyable satire. It focuses on the disparity between a more traditional approach to life and the largely-unquestioned assumptions of modernity. I loved the way it pokes fun at what we have become and are becoming. The characters are fully formed, especially the fascinating character of Alfredo Salgado. The novel begins in 1981, with Salgado as a very intelligent and no-nonsense young teenager who has been raised by his aunt as a devout traditionalist Catholic. He refuses to accept the assumptions of the modern world around him. Years later, we see Salgado interacting under very strange circumstances with a world that has proceeded along the accelerating path of "progress". The novel highlights the contradictions inherent in many of the assumptions we hold dear.

The novel begins slowly (appropriately so) and gradually picks up pace. It ends on an unsentimentally touching note that demonstrates the power of grace. It certainly held my attention from beginning to end. At over 300 pages, it looked on the longish side at first, but it was presented in such an engaging way that I read through it very quickly. Samuels skill with plot and character are very much on display here. If you're anything like me, you may recognize yourself or others you know in his characters. I could not recommend the book more, whether one is Catholic or not, religious or not.

"What lay behind me was no longer any normal, familiar life, that everyday life out of which the impulse to pray raises us, with still at the back of our minds that whensoever we wish we can return. A void was behind me. And in front a wall, a wall of darkness." Georges Bernanos, The Diary of a Country Priest

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Old 03-03-2017   #272
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Re: A Pilgrim Stranger

It's an excellent book. Mark's artistry is still evolving.
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Old 03-04-2017   #273
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Re: A Pilgrim Stranger

It's still on my short list of books to read. I'll get around to it eventually.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 03-20-2017   #274
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Re: A Pilgrim Stranger

Reading this now, and enjoying it very much. I can't wait to see where Mark goes with this.

Lucian pigeon-holed the letter solemnly in the receptacle lettered 'Barbarians.' ~ The Hill of Dreams by Arthur Machen
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #275
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Re: A Pilgrim Stranger

Finished this the other day and loved it.

The ending was especially good.

Bravo Mark, bravo!

Lucian pigeon-holed the letter solemnly in the receptacle lettered 'Barbarians.' ~ The Hill of Dreams by Arthur Machen
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Old 1 Week Ago   #276
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Re: A Pilgrim Stranger

Bombarded With Concern | Mark Samuels
Such are the wages of reactionary ranting.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #277
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Re: A Pilgrim Stranger

Quote Originally Posted by Hidden X View Post
Bombarded With Concern | Mark Samuels
Such are the wages of reactionary ranting.
If we take reaction as the opposite of reflection, then this is certainly one of the most reactionary comments on this website. Drool positively drips from it as from the mouth of one of Pavlov's dogs.

"人生夢幻耳" - 高井鴻山
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Old 1 Week Ago   #278
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Re: A Pilgrim Stranger

Hidden X- Don't see how that could be. He's pretty successful for an author in this genre and his rants were usually a bit too vague to amount to much offense, although there was some fights years ago. I doubt that has much to do with his situation now. I hope he pulls himself out of this.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #279
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Re: A Pilgrim Stranger

I don't agree with a lot of his recent behaviour, but he doesn't deserve homelessness at all. Opposition to such dangerous poverty is why I believe in socialist economics in the first place.

Surely a Patreon could be organised?

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 1 Week Ago   #280
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Re: A Pilgrim Stranger

Quote Originally Posted by Hidden X View Post
Bombarded With Concern | Mark Samuels
Such are the wages of reactionary ranting.
Nobody deserves to be homeless, regardless of their position on the political spectrum.

I second James, is there currently a crowdfund to help him out?

This is my life. This is my damnation. This is my only regret--that I ever was born.

-- Swans, "Beautiful Child"
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