Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Pillars of the Earth

Quite a feat to finish this novel. Not because it was bad or anything, but because it was over a thousand pages. Reading it on my e-reader my progress was shown in a percentage and it took me almost a half hour to read 1%. So after 6 weeks I've finally finished it. And I'm proud of myself.

Pillars of the Earth is a novel about the building of a cathedral and the lives who are touched by this grand design.
It starts very small, with a family who is close to starving and searching for work on any kind of building project. We meet Tom Builder and his family at their all time lowest, while they don't have enough food. Meanwhile his wife is pregnant and loses her life while giving birth.
From that tragedy a grand cathedral is born, because due to faith and carefully planned actions this cathedral will rule the lives of the common men, the clergy and noblemen for years to come.

Of course I gave you a idea of what this novel contains, it's much more detailed than that. It's not that every breath taken, is somehow connected with the building of that church, but all means seem to serve the same ending. But Ken Follett does breathe live in his characters, surely the ones that he needs to make his story strong.
Especially Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge, where the cathedral is to be build and Jack Jackson, the stepson of Tom Builder who will become the prodigy this church and this town needed.
Besides them there's Aliena, a young woman with whom me experience the best of times and the worst of times.

Filled with hopes, lures, schemes, treachery and goodwill, The Pillars of the Earth will satisfy many needs. And you won't mind the divine intervention often used to make this novel proceed in the way Follett wants to go. But it might have been better if he had used it a little more sparingly in the end. It just falls together a little too well and that made me feel a little cheated at the end of this enormous novel. It's a little too easy to give something of that magnificence a happy ending. It might have served better from a little heart ache, a little tear shedding might have given it more depth.

But I'm glad I've read it. I learned a lot about the building of such grand buildings, and I'm sure I won't look at a cathedral in the same way anymore.
It's not literature that will be remembered for ages to come, but it does kick a punch. If you forgive it its little faults, and close your eyes when the deus ex machina is entering the stage, it's very enjoyable and satisfying.