Lying Awake. Mark Salzman, Author, Stephanie Shieldhouse, Illustrator Alfred A. Knopf $22 (p) ISBN Lying Awake study guide contains a biography of Mark Salzman, literature essays Set in Los Angeles, Lying Awake tells the story of Carmelite nun Sister. Mark Salzman’s novel, Lying Awake, invites us to reflect on social, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of neurological illness in particular and of the.

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How appropriate is the choice of locale of the monastery of Sisters of the Carmel of Saint Joseph in the very heart of Los Angeles rather than in a more pastoral setting? The nuns follow a way of life established for centuries. In what ways, if any, are they allowed to express their individuality? Salzman writes, “The real penance in cloistered life, most Sisters agreed, was not isolation; it was the impossibility of getting away from people one would not normally have chosen as friends” [p.

Lying Awake by Mark Salzman – Reading Guide – : Books

What incidents in the book support this statement? How does Salzman “humanize” Sister John and the other nuns—for instance, Sister Bernadette, Sister Anne, and Mother Emmanuel—without undermining his portrait of lives dedicated to serving God?

What specific roles do these women play in creating the reality of the religious life: What qualities does Sister John share with each of them? What do each of their lives teach her about herself? Why are some of her memories [for example, pp.

In what ways did her family awkae and her attachment to her teacher, Sister Priscilla, influence her decision to become a nun? Is she drawn to the religious life for spiritual reasons alone, or do other aspects of her life play an equally important part? Is her reaction to the way her mother looks and acts surprising?


Lying Awake Reader’s Guide

Why does she pull off her wimple and veil after the visit [p. Why are both the setting and the time of year significant? In what way are the circumstances particularly relevant to the teachings of St. Sister John wonders, “How. Sheppard treats her like any other patient.

Later in the book, Sister John compares the hospital to her monastery and imagines how a doctor might characterize the cloistered life [p. Is her description an accurate reflection of how most people would regard a celibate life devoted to prayer and contemplation?

How does Lying Awake inspire or reinforce ideas about a religious vocation? Sister John wonders whether Dostoevsky would have been treated for his epilepsy if he had had the option.

In view lting his description of his rapture [p. Can artistic inspiration be related to mental imbalances, either physical or psychological? For example, how did the mental instability of artists and writers such as Vincent Van Gogh, Robert Lowell, aqake Sylvia Plath influence their work?

Teresa, who suffered epileptic seizures, agonized over how to tell the difference between genuine spiritual experiences and false ones and feared for her own sanity. Is her warning against “seeking illness as a means of cultivating holiness” [p.

Lying Awake by Mark Salzman | : Books

Teresa and other Christian mystics of the past? To what extent do our behavior and the decisions we make entail making “presumptions” about ourselves and our place salzmman the world? In making her decision about surgery, does she rely entirely on faith, or does reason play a role as well? How does the language and style of Lying Awake differ from most contemporary writing?


What details of daily life in the monastery help to establish the themes Salzman is exploring? Literary Fiction Spiritual Fiction print.

We hope they will give you interesting ways to talk about this beautifully crafted novel about a middle-aged nun whose “dark night of the soul” raises profound questions about the awwake of faith, identity, and artistic creation. Introduction In a Carmelite monastery outside present-day Los Angeles, life goes on in a manner virtually unchanged awaje centuries.

Sister John of the Cross has spent years there in the service of God. And there, she alone experiences visions of such dazzling power and insight that she is looked upon as a spiritual master. For if her spiritual gifts are symptoms of illness rather than grace, will a “cure” mean the end of her visions and a soul once again dry lyihg searching? Questions and Topics for Discussion 1.

He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, filmmaker Jessica Yu. Learn More About Lying Awake print. LitFlash The eBooks you want at the lowest prices.

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