Thursday, November 7, 2013

Azazeel-Youseff Ziedan

Azazeel-Youseff Ziedan

the facts
satisfaction: Up
pages: 311
gender: M
nationality: Egypt
year: 2009
Novel in translation

 Ostensibly the memoirs of a fifth-century doctor-monk named Hypa, whose scrolls bearing witness to a period of Christian turmoil are uncovered in 1994, its depictions of an aggressive, pagan-purging Bishop Cyril offended some members of the Coptic Church so gravely that they filed lawsuits.

This was my season of historical fiction. However, Azazeel is historical fiction from an era I've never heard from. Hypa is a Coptic monk during the period of Christianity in which the church was splitting. Pagans still exist (though horrible things are happening) but Roman/Orthodox divide didn't. Having never really thought too much about the real individual living in this strange turbulent period, I found myself really getting sucked into it. I mean, Hypa is written in a way that he is all-too-human (a bit modern in his forthrightness, I thought there was no mistaking this for 'truth') and it proves engrossing. He is a man far from home (Egypt to Syria- no small distance by camel/walking!) unsure of how to proceed which is a timeless situation. To experience it through his eyes against his front seat view of the church schisms and human cost of faith was incredible and almost devastating. I felt my heart move and almost missed how the language at times becomes a bit too high-flying.
Put simply, I loved it!

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