Item description for Virgin Time: In Search of the Contemplative Life by Patricia Hampl...
Overview In a meditative memoir named a Notable Book by The New York Times, the author recounts her quest for spiritual fulfillment and reconciliation with her Catholic upbringing, which takes her from Europe to a California monastery. Reprint.
Publishers Description "A religious cliff-hanger--intimate, compelling, hard to put down." SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE Eager to shake off the indelible brand of a Catholic upbringing, Patricia Hample seeks the "old world" of Catholicism. On her pilgrimage she meets others seekers--crotchety English agnostics, American Franciscan friars and nuns, and the seekers that fill every charter flight. Inevitably, too, she finds the "old world" right at home, in the very past she had tried to escape. But what she is looking for confronts her, finally, on a rereat at a monastery near the Lost Coast of northern California in the still, virgin moments of silent prayer....
Citations And Professional Reviews Virgin Time: In Search of the Contemplative Life by Patricia Hampl has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Booklist - 09/01/1995 page 18
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More About Patricia Hampl
Patricia Hampl's most recent book is The Florist's Daughter, winner of numerous "best" and "year end" awards, including the New York Times 100 Notable Books of the Year. Blue Arabesque: A Search for the Sublime, was published in 2006. Hampl s A Romantic Education, was awarded a Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship. She is the author of two collections of poetry: Woman before an Aquarium and Resort and Other Poems. She published Spillville, a meditation on Antonin Dvorak's 1893 summer in Iowa, and Virgin Time, about her Catholic upbringing and an inquiry into contemplative life. I Could Tell You Stories, her collection of essays, was a finalist in 2000 for the National Book Critics Circle Awards in General Nonfiction. Tell Me True: Memoir, History and Writing a Life, coedited by Hampl and Elaine Tyler May was published in 2008. Hampl has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Bush Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Ingram Merrill Foundation, and Djerassi Foundation. In 1990 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. She is regents professor and McKnight distinguished professor in the MFA program of the English Department at the University of Minnesota.
Patricia Hampl currently resides in the state of Minnesota. Patricia Hampl was born in 1946.
Reviews - What do customers think about Virgin Time: In Search of the Contemplative Life?
a book for the spiritual seeker Feb 17, 2007
From the other reviews, this is clearly a book you either love or hate; as someone who loved it, I also found it (as the other fans of it did) a very moving and coherent tale. Hampl takes us with her as she seeks for a way to understand what it means to seek; she (like many of us) yearns for some sort of spirituality, but rests in a deeply uneasy relationship with her childhood Catholicism. The book follows her on a series of trips-- to Italy with jaded English tourists, then with Franciscan pilgrims, to Lourdes, back into her childhood memories, and finally to a retreat in California. I think readers who find the travelogue parts and the retreat section disconnected are not seeing this as a spiritual journey (in fact, most of them admit they aren't interested in it!-- then why read this book?) but it is-- and one that moves Hampl, not into certainty, but into peace and acceptance with her own doubt. The book charts her finding her way to accept and forgive those who travel with her, and especially to forgive herself for the dance she does between wanting this contemplative life and not wanting to give up the world-- adoring her sweets and coffee, her human companionship, her writing, her shyness, all the weaknesses that make her human and that she finally realizes do not have to be left behind, but instead embraced with compassion. The lessons she lives out are not solely Catholic or Christian but remind me of Pema Chodron's teachings on living with uncertainty. I found it honest, moving, and, in the end, deeply joyful.
Beautifully written spiritual autobiography Jan 8, 2007
This book is carefully and elegantly constructed, with the quiet pacing of a richly written travelogue. Her writing is so clear, descriptive and nuanced that the countryside, her fellow travellers and her own inner life are vividly realized. I enjoyed her candidness about the difficulty of constructing an authentic spiritual experience and the magic of actually experiencing one. It has what the best spiritual autobiographies have: hopeful doubt, caution, journey and joy. It is her stark candidness and the quality of her writing that set it apart as an excellent read.
Should be a zero Dec 21, 2005
I have tried twice to read this book and couldn't get through it either time. I was determined the second time I read it to try harder, thinking there had to be some redeeming value, but if there is I just didn't have the patience to perservere. There are too many engaging books to be read.
Wonderful fun read, simply could not put it down! Aug 22, 2004
Although I do not consider myself to be religious and have seldom set foot in a Catholic Church, I found this book captivating. It is refreshingly honest and simple to read and the characters are charming and sometimes quirky. The narrator has spent her life trying to break free of her childhood Catholic roots only to find herself drawn back into them in middle age. She begins her pilgrimmage in Italy with a group of agnostic British couples and moves on to a group of Friars and Nuns, who are delightfully humorous and not at all what one would expect them to be. Throughout her trips in Italy we learn bits and pieces of her childhood along with the story of St. Francis and St. Clare. The places she stays and sees are described beautifully and I felt as though I were on the trip with her. The book is fun and charming to read and I highly recommend it.
Ambivalent recommendation May 15, 2000
Virgin Time is a book that half way in I was nearly ready to toss - the walking trip thru Umbria seemed to have little relationship to her childhood memories of a Catholic upbringing and education. Only at her return to Assisi with a Franciscan study group did the structure of the book begin to appear. Only in the last chapters of the book did the need for the first half of the book become apparent.
As for the internal spiritual journey, Patricia Hampl has a perspective that is useful and uncommon - the problem is not God but is prayer. Her resolution comes on retreat in Northern California - a resolution that has several insightful observations on prayer.
There are individuals for whom Virgin Time should be "required reading" - others will find that it is an interesting one-time read from which they will learn little other than how personal a spiritual path must be - different questions as primary - different aspects of the answer missing.
The best way to learn if this book is for you is to read it.