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Spring Edition
Volume 98, Number 4

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Off the Shelf Classics (continued)

Vicki Root
VICKI ROOT is the director of Messiah College’s social work program.

Learning to Walk 'Sarah's Circle'
A Harvard-educated scientist weaves together poignant stories of women’s journeys to God

A special friend and mentor introduced me to A Woman’s Journey to God during a period of my life that author Joan Borysenko would describe as a “dark night,” a turning point in one’s life where spiritual healing begins and we strive to find our authentic selves. Borysenko, a licensed psychologist and Harvard-educated medical scientist, shares a unique look at the relationship between and among women as they seek to experience God through their love and work. This book weaves together poignant stories of women and their journeys toward spiritual wholeness, integrating biblical concepts that describe relational aspects of spirituality common to women.

One of the most meaningful concepts was Borysenko’s description of “Sarah’s circle,” in which, just as God has a plan for the Old Testament’s Sarah, God has a plan in which we are the participants but not the doers. “Walking Sarah’s circle” is a way of illustrating our spiritual journey and, by grace, at any time we can touch the center and know God.

This book is not as heavy as it may sound but is a contemporary classic that is refreshingly witty, inspiring, and gave me much to ponder and appreciate about my uniqueness as a woman.

—VICKI ROOT is the director of Messiah College’s social work program.

David Dzaka
DAVID DZAKA is an assistant professor of English.

The God of Small Things
When minor details make the story

If you haven’t read the Indian architect turned writer, Arundhati Roy’s debut novel, The God of Small Things, make it one of your must-reads this summer. Published in 1997, the book became an instant success, winning the prestigious Booker Prize and making the author a literary celebrity. Set in the year 1969 in a small village in the Kerala region of southern India, the novel tells the story of the Kochamma family seen from the perspective of Rahel the twin. We are told about how a few dramatic incidents in Rahel’s troubled childhood drastically change the lives of everyone else in the family. Through these events the author explores the interconnectedness of great and small things alike, showing how apparently unrelated events have far-reaching consequences for individuals, communities, and even a whole country. The novel traffics in a wide variety of meanings, examining at one level the family drama and changes in the fortunes of the Kochamma family; at another level, burning issues in the Kerala region; and yet another, Indian religion, history, and politics. My favorite layer in the multifaceted narrative is Ammu’s pathetic story of forbidden love.

Important as these themes may be, and profound as the author’s insights may be, it is the language of this novel that is particularly striking and memorable. The highly evocative description, the lyricism of the prose, the passion of narration, the sophistication of word play and coinages—all these provide an incredible feast for the imagination.

—DAVID DZAKA is an assistant professor of English.

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