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A Cry of Stone [Hardcover]

By Michael D. O'Brien (Author)
Our Price $ 25.46  
Retail Value $ 29.95  
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Item Number 126367  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   849
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.3" Width: 5.7" Height: 2.2"
Weight:   2 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 30, 2003
Publisher   Ignatius Press
ISBN  0898708508  
EAN  9780898708509  

Availability  0 units.

Children Of The Last Days - Full Series Preview
Image Title Price Stock Qty Add To Cart
  Plague Journal (Children of the Last Days)   $ 12.71   In Stock  
  Strangers and Sojourners (Children of the Last Days) (v. 1)   $ 16.96   In Stock  
  Eclipse of the Sun   $ 18.66   In Stock  
  Father Elijah: An Apocalypse   $ 16.96   In Stock  

Item Description...
In this long-awaited fifth novel in his series, Children of the Last Days, Michael O'Brien explores the true meaning of poverty of spirit. Loosely based on the real lives of a number of native North Americans, A Cry of Stone is the fictional account of the life of a native artist, Rose Wabos. Abandoned as an infant, Rose is raised by her grandmother, Oldmary Wabos, in the remotest regions of the northern Ontario wilderness. The story covers a period from 1940 to 1973, chronicling Rose's growth to womanhood, her discovery of art, her moving out into the world of cities and sophisticated cultural circles. Above all it is the story of a soul who is granted little of human strengths and resources, yet who strives to love in all circumstances. As she searches for the ultimate meaning of her life, she changes the lives of many people whom she meets along the way. O'Brien takes the reader deep into the heart of a "small" person. There he uncovers the beauty and struggles of a soul who wants only to create, to help others to see what she sees. The story also explores the complex lies and false images, the ambitions and posturing that dominate much of contemporary culture, and shows how these have contributed to a loss of our understanding of the sacredness of each human life. Once again, Michael O'Brien beautifully demonstrates that no matter how insignificant a person may be in the world's eyes, marvels and mysteries are to be found in everyone. His central character, Rose, is among the despised and rejected of the earth, yet her life bears witness to the greatness in man, and to his eternal destiny. "Michael D. O'Brien is a major talent, one of the brightest lights in the Catholic literary firmament. His latest novel, A Cry of Stone, makes for disturbing reading at times. This is as it should be. We live in disturbing times and O'Brien's narrative strips the gloss from the demonic reality of our heedless and hedonistic age. Few writers of fiction unveil this paradoxical Presence in Absence better than O'Brien." -Joseph Pearce, Author, Tolkien: Man and Myth

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A spiritual classic  Apr 19, 2006
The Catholic novel has always occupied a precarious position. Most pious novels are of mediocre quality, while the solidly literary works (those of Graham Greene and Francois Mauriac, for example) are often ambiguous in their views on doctrine and morals.
Even those few works that combine literary merit with doctrinal and moral orthodoxy are rarely regarded highly. Most critics ignore or despise any overt Catholicism, particularly in modern fiction, while educated Catholics tend to regard novels as less important than the great works of apologetics, history and social comment.
Nevertheless, the last century has produced many novels on the lives of saints, from the Christian soap operas of Taylor Caldwell to the great political-military-religious histories of Louis de Wohl. There have also been lives of fictional saints, notably Georges Bernanos' Under the Sun of Satan.
The best Catholic fiction attempts to portray the drama of sin and sanctity, damnation and salvation, fought out on the battlefield of the human soul. However, it is much easier to depict evil than sanctity. Portraying a saint is one of the most difficult of a writer's tasks, as holiness is almost always unconvincing. This is what makes Michael O'Brien's book so remarkable.
A Cry of Stone is the fifth book in O'Brien's series, "Children of the Last Days", though it can be read independently. It is a work of honesty, great insight and powerful originality. In my view it confirms O'Brien as not only the premier Catholic novelist of our time but one of the greatest writers now living, even if the literary establishment continues to ignore him.
He is also the only author I know who is more successful in depicting good than evil. His subject, Rose W?bos, is one of the most extraordinary and memorable characters in modern fiction. A native of the Anishinabe people of northern Canada, she is a young woman with a deformed spine, described as "a four-foot-high, brown-skinned, hunchbacked woman whose hair was completely gray but whose eyes and expression were those of a child." (p.629) She has an unshakeable and uncompromising faith, a powerful but unique mystical sense, an ability to read characters, and a heart on fire with love for Christ. She is, in every sense, a saint.
Rose experiences within herself the confrontation between the modern world and the Catholic Faith, a conflict in which the Faith ultimately wins, not in any triumphalistic or argumentative sense, but simply through humility and love. Yet her life is, to all outward appearances, a failure; she calls herself a "nothing-person".
She is a tremendously gifted artist, but artistic success eludes her because her paintings are too demonstrably Catholic - a situation familiar to many artists and writers in recent years.1 However, she uses her failure to develop a spirituality based on art:
She was only a little charcoal stick in the hands of the Beloved. If not her, then another twig would have been sufficient for his purposes. (p. 581)
A Cry of Stone bears up very well against other novels about artists, such as Patrick White's The Vivisector: O'Brien has much more to teach us, and his certainty is more compelling than White's blind striving for mystical experience. Despite her failures and her deformities, Rose is far more human and more inspiring than White's Hurtle Duffield.
Is this a great novel? Many would think not. It is a long book with a rambling plot. Major characters disappear, others are introduced late and then seem to go nowhere. Among much writing of great beauty, there are some tiresome passages.
But O'Brien has achieved something unique: he has not only created a completely original saint but he has shown her from the inside: her thoughts and prayers and her stumbling yet unremitting path toward sanctity. With consummate skill, he combines Rose's Christian and non-Christian traditions in a synthesis that completely avoids syncretism. He shows us how the pagan insight into spiritual realities is not extinguished by Faith but is utterly transformed by the loving hand of God. Along the way, he drags Rose through many painful realities - racism, child abuse, betrayal, untimely death - but always with great sensitivity and yet a minimum of sentimentality. Paradoxically, the result of the complexity of her experience is a character of wonderful simplicity.
Surely this constitutes greatness.
On Pilgrimage with Rose Wabos  Jul 10, 2005
Just finished A CRY OF STONE and feel compelled to comment on Michael O'Brien's never-failing word art. The story of Rose Wabos, while seldom pretty, is astoundingly beautiful. Readers who have difficulty comprehending the Catholic Christian belief in the redemptive value of suffering will understand perfectly as they accompany Rose Wabos on her faith journey.
Delivers a silent shout  May 30, 2005
This book delivers the inspirational, yet very realistic, example of a small saint. It is about a young Native girl's life, the very brevity of which, becomes an everlasting word, a word to go on being revealed, never to be destroyed.

The thread of her life, beautifully written out, is both consoling (there is beauty, and it is very real and very beautiful) and challenging (there is truth and it exists in cooperating fully with, in submission with love, to Jesus Christ).

The characters are numerous and very real. Two particular characters, one of whom has a very sharp personality and is married to the other, provide as believable outlets for a lot of social criticism and art criticism. At least those are the common names they go by. In this novel they are not mere criticisms, but deep reflection of truth.

In short, the young Native girl, Rose Wabos, has a particular gift of creation, of making pictures, "that you fall into". She also has a gift of clairvoyance, or that is, seeing into people's souls, also their pasts, when it is given her by God in order to help them. She possesses a very sensitive nature. The two gifts tend to blend into each other, or it seems one serves the other.

O Brien's use of language in this book I found could be heartbreaking. His ability to get the reader to look fully at the darkness of sin is really in proportion to his ability to get you to look fully at the beauty, the sheer gratuitous love, the unstoppable, infinite mercy, of the incarnation of Christ.

There is also a fair good deal of humour and some satire. There are some Waugh-like passages in style, but it is all still very Michael O Brien. It doesn't do the book justice to use these words, but nonetheless, the book is rich, full, varied, yet singular in its overall accomplishment. The ending leaves you with a silent shout.
Moving, Spiritually Enlightening, Awesome  Nov 29, 2004
Spiritual insights are rich, bringing the common struggle to life even in disparate characters and stations in life. So rich are the insights, that like with DeSales' Introduction to the Devout Life, I found myself looking back to certain pages to refresh my enlightenment.
A Beacon of Hope  Sep 22, 2004
I was stunned by this book. As an artist, I've never read a book that so thoroughly and truthfully captured not only the process of creating original works of art, but also the foibles and pretense of the "official" art community. And yet the main character, despite being a "small person" with virtually no resources other than faith in God, is completely believable and a tremendous inspiration. There is no doubt in mind that this book was blessed by the saints whose intercession O'Brien prayed for during its creation.

Michael O'Brien's book _is_ long, but I breezed through it in just a few days and was riveted by the story. It is extremely rare in a world fixated on revenge and fighting for "my piece of the pie" to find a book that actually breathes life into a character that has chosen the small way...the way of Christ. Yet Rose Wabos remains very human and very accessible. And at every turn, just when I would expect her to react as _I_ would react, she does something lovely...she chooses to act as Christ would have acted. Over and over I had revealed to me how far I, personally, have to go before I could ever begin to consider myself a real, consistent follower of Christ.

This book is a fictional tale that deals with how to live as Thomas A. Kempis advises us to in "The Imitation of Christ". In that book, Kempis suggests what we need to do to truly follow in Christ's footsteps. In Michael O'Brien's book, we get to see someone do just that, and in seeing it, it makes it somehow more possible, and more within our grasp.

This is the best work of fiction I've read in many, many years.

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