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The Salt Roads > TSR: Saint Mary the Dusky

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Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2258 comments I think one of the things that has me spinning about this book since finishing is realizing how many of the characters are "real." I'm just really in love with Saint Mary of Egypt, who Nalo refers to as "the Dusky," and I love her alt-history approach suggesting that the story has changed through the filter of a man seeking fame through his interaction with the saint. Too too funny.

The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia explains her motivation as, "she embarked for Palestine, not however with the intention of making the pilgrimage, but in the hope that life on board ship would afford her new and abundant opportunities of gratifying an insatiable lust."


message 2: by Mark (last edited Feb 22, 2017 12:34PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark (mmtz) | 833 comments Jenny (Reading Envy) wrote: "I think one of the things that has me spinning about this book since finishing is realizing how many of the characters are "real." I'm just really in love with Saint Mary of Egypt, who Nalo refers ..."

I found myself pulled into the lives of all three women, Mer, Jeanne, and Thais, but got the biggest kick out of Thais' story, even though it's the shortest.

Thais' journey from brothel to sainthood is ironic and amusing.

On a related religious note, Father Leon's dour admonitions to refrain from expressing any form of joy while in his slave church reminded me of why I'm a lapsed Catholic.


Leesa (leesalogic) | 500 comments It took me a while (nearly 70%) before I could say definitively that I enjoyed the book, and it was when we finally learned more of Meritet.

I had no idea this was historical until I read another summary trying to figure out what I was supposed to be getting out of the book. Learning that aspect did make me stick with the book (Jeanne's story was so damn depressing--I just don't really like that time period), and I'm glad I did stick it through.

I also had to look up some words.

I did like this book quite a bit, and would not have otherwise read it, despite being a big fan of reading books about "not me."


Rob Secundus (Quintessential_Defenestration) | 1033 comments Oh wow, I had no idea that "The Desert Mothers" were even a thing. I thought the first lady-hermits were the Anchorites (who were also wild).

Here's apparently a translation of the biography by which we know anything about her: http://www.stmaryofegypt.org/files/li...

My favorite detail (after the bit Jenny notes, which is great) is that her body was buried by a random wandering lion.

Mark wrote: "On a related religious note, Father Leon's dour admonitions to refrain from expressing any form of joy while in his slave church reminded me of why I'm a lapsed Catholic..."

It may give you a small bit of solace to know that in American "Black Catholicism", joy in liturgy, eventually, won the day.


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