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The Shattering of Loneliness


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In this unique and profound meditation on loneliness and humanity, Erik Varden, a Trappist monk, uses a range of sources - from Aristophanes and Virgil through Athanasius and Bernard of Clairvaux to Hammarskjoeld, Akhmatova and Makine - to illuminate his themes of Loneliness and Remembrance

About the Author

Dom Erik Varden is Abbot of Mount Saint Bernard Abbey in Leicestershire. Norwegian by birth, he was, before entering religious life, a Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge. He has published several translations and scholarly monographs and is much in demand as a preacher, spiritual director and lecturer.


The Shattering of Loneliness is an extraordinary book: not too long but richly dense; profound in its insights and scholarship yet eminently readable; and though clearly written by a monk happy to be a monk, it has as much relevance to the ordinary Christian as to the Trappist monks in the author's care. * Catholic Herald *
Intimately personal but never self-indulgent, it is at once arresting and challenging, uplifting and reassuring, and profoundly moving ... The richness of this remarkable book is impossible to convey adequately in so few words. No reader will remain unchanged. * Tablet *
Absorbing and fascinating ... It is a book to be read more than once. * Methodist Recorder *
Generates deep and unexpected insights [...] Like the memory of a meaningful conversation long after you've forgotten what was said. It is unforgettable. * Catholic World Report *
The Shattering of Loneliness is a book of extraordinary importance. It is, with prophetic clarity, aware of the depravity, the weakness and the glory of the human condition. * Times Literary Supplement *
A work that intelligently renews the vocabulary and the very genre of spiritual literature. * La Croix *
This is one of the finest books that I have read in recent years and one which should, in time, become a classic. It acknowledges and articulates the essential contribution of the Christian tradition as inspirer of remembrance for a generation that is beginning to forget. * The Furrow *
Varden's work is the fruit from a tree for the healing of the nations, from a monk who has his feet firmly and incarnationally on the ground. * Lutheran Theological Journal *
I've read thousands of books. This one has stunned me. * Mary Margaret Funk, spiritual writer and author of 'The Practice of the Spiritual Life' *
This wide-reading reviewer hasn't for ages read such a completely satisfying book [...], written in poetic, resonant language. * Bonnie Thurston, New Testament scholar and author *

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