The Book of Mercy
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The Book of Mercy

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  30 ratings  ·  5 reviews
The Book of Mercy is the story of Edmund Mueller, a retired fireman tormented by memories of his flamboyant wife, Fanny, and her disappearance from his life years ago. Suffering from isolation, Edmund become fascinated with the art of alchemy, with the works of Paracelsus and Hermes Trismegistus, and the search for the Elixir of Life, which will enable him, he believes, to...more
Hardcover, 261 pages
Published June 26th 1996 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1996)
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I am one of those folks who really enjoys reading first novels of authors. That added to my pleasure.

Some thoughts:

On Alchemy: A subject that intrigues me, not so much because of the quest for turning base metal to gold or the search for eternal life, but because of the underlying component of healing and cures. The magic aspect, and witchery (eye of newt and all that) is not my thing personally, but I know it holds a strong draw to many. I thought Edmund's exploration and gradual immersion into...more
Lynn Pribus
I'd like to give this more than 4, but not quite a five for me because of the long "readings" about alchemy. I'd read a later book about the Johnstown Flood titled "In Sunlight, in a Beautiful Garden."

I found it lyrical, elegant, yet down-to-earth, so decided to get this one. It's about a fireman in Pittsburgh, the young woman he marries who becomes clearly manic-depressive and leaves home and their two children. The boy becomes a priest, primarily to get out of the house and the daughter and fa...more
If you're going to set a book in Pittsbugh, at least do a minimal amount of research (note to author: they're the Mexican War Streets, not "Spanish War Streets" - how much research does something like that take?!)
Feb 2007. Good. LP -- Good
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