Dreamers of the Absolute: A Book of Hours

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9781909631083: Dreamers of the Absolute: A Book of Hours

A young woman, dreaming of love and yearning to know what it is, drives up to a Trappist monastery in rural Kentucky, seeking her older brother who has taken the vows of a novice. She spends seven days of unplanned contemplation interspersed with the seven prayers that punctuate the monastery’s daily routine. Insights and recollections come and go like the ebb and flow of the tide. In her silent enclosure she asks herself who she is, what she wants, and what she believes. Anna Sun poses seemingly unanswerable questions, but like an illuminated book of hours, this sensitive and beautifully adorned novella also seems to point to where an answer might lie.

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About the Author:

Anna Sun is a professor at Kenyon College and a consulting editor for the Kenyon Review.


"Sun's writing is clean, spare, and as meditative as her protagonist's experience at the monastery, and as beautiful as the book itself--Sylph Editions publishes 'work in which text and images coexist, conceived as one.'

There's been a surge in religious belief over recent years, but mainly of an infantile, twisted quality. Sun's slim book reminds us that being truly religious requires not mere belief but devotion and discipline. [...] I wish more writers were like Anna Sun and knew this truth, too."

Randy Rosenthal, Tweed's: Magazine of Literature & Art, November 2014

"Dreamers of the Absolute by Anna Sun is an elegant novella set in a Kentucky monastery, where the main character has gone in search of her brother, though from the outset it is clear that what she will find is herself. Inspired on several levels by T. S Eliot's 'Little Gidding,' Sun approaches the English language with a graceful, nearly lapidary concern for what can be conveyed of the tension between this world and that which is not of this world."

Katharine Weber, The Kenyon Review's Summer Reading List, June 2014

"Light and heavy at the same time, I would recommend this book not only for those who enjoy experimental fiction, but also those who find themselves deeply engrossed in lengthy novels. Those who prefer longer works can use this novella as their own retreat, reflecting on disorienting dreams and what they mean. Its short length works perfectly to tackle heavy topics without plunging too far into darkness. When you awake in the middle of the night, how do you know what is real and what is imagined?"

Ellen Mcdevitt-Stredney, Ohioana Quarterly, Fall 2015

"Austere and yet scorching in its passions."

David Lynn, Editor, The Kenyon Review, Kenyon Year on the Page 2014

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