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Leaving Alexandria: A Memoir of Faith and Doubt (Hardback)
  • Leaving Alexandria: A Memoir of Faith and Doubt (Hardback)

Leaving Alexandria: A Memoir of Faith and Doubt (Hardback)

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Hardback 368 Pages / Published: 01/03/2012
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Winner of the PEN/Ackerley Prize 2013. The acclaimed writer, respected thinker and outspoken former bishop Richard Holloway recounts a life defined by the biggest questions: Who am I? And what is God? At fourteen, Richard Holloway left his home in the Vale of Leven, north of Glasgow, and travelled hundreds of miles to be educated and trained for the priesthood by a religious order in an English monastery. By twenty-five he had been ordained and was working in the slums of Glasgow. Throughout the following forty years, Richard touched the lives of many people in the Church and in the wider community. But behind his confident public face lay a restless, unquiet heart and a constantly searching mind. Why is the Church, which claims to be the instrument of God's love, so prone to cruelty and condemnation? And how can a man live with the tension between public faith and private doubt? In his long-awaited memoir, Richard seeks to answer these questions and to explain how, after many crises of faith, he finally and painfully left the Church. It is a wise, poetic and fiercely honest book.

Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780857860736
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 562 g
Dimensions: 220 x 161 x 32 mm
Edition: Main

At a time when the world has urgently needed wise and compassionate leadership, this poignant memoir, written with the integrity, intelligence and wit that we expect from Richard Holloway, lays bare the ludicrous and entirely unnecessary mess we have made of religion * * Karen Armstrong * *
Leaving Alexandria is many things. It is a compelling account of a journey through life, told with great frankness; it is a subtle reflection on what it means to live in an imperfect and puzzling world; and it is a highly readable insight into one of the most humane and engaged minds of our times. It is, quite simply, a wonderful book -- Alexander McCall Smith
Richard Holloway's memoir is endlessly vivid and fascinating. It's the record of a mind too large, too curious and far too generous to be confined within any single religious denomination. His account of how a passionate, intelligent boy grew out of a poor and deprived background without ever losing touch with the humane values it gave him, will be a delight and inspiration to believers, non-believers, and ex-believers alike -- Philip Pullman
An enlightening walk through a life that encompasses West Africa, the Gorbals, rent strikes, the divided self and the question of grace -- Mark Cousins * * Scotland on Sunday * *
Exceptional...it is rare to find someone in whom intellectual and emotional intelligence combine so movingly -- Maggie Ferguson * * Intelligent Life * *
Nobody could fail to be intensely moved by the final chapters of his memoir . . . a deeply lovable man; and what a wonderful book he has written -- Mary Warnock * * The Observer * *
A wonderfully honest and deeply moving reflection on the nature of doubt, saintly almost in its modesty - though Holloway might not like my saying so. A breath of fresh doubt that so many of us need, whether believer or nonbeliever, and I'm both -- MICHAEL MORPURGO
Leaving Alexandria gives a profound sense of the benefits, as well as the difficulties, that accrue from taking a zigzag path through life . . . it summarises an argument that a lot of people will find sympathetic, as well as compelling -- Andrew Motion * * The Guardian * *
[A] highly absorbing and perceptive memoir * * Times Literary Supplement * *
This is a portrait of a formerly devoted Christian who, by confessing his faults and doubts to us, becomes exemplary, an Everyman, and a guide to how we too might lose faith without sacrificing our souls -- Alain de Botton * * The Times * *
A profound and lyrical book -- Arifa Akbar * * Independent i * *
Captures the bewildering range of churches within the Church . . . Holloway certainly throws down the gauntlet - with a quiet, elegiac passion - to Christians who arm themselves in certainty . . . They should read this wide, erudite book as a matter of urgency -- David Robson * * The Sunday Telegraph * *
This book offers quite unique insights into a troubled, contemporary religious mind. It also reminds us that, in Richard Holloway, Episcopal Edinburgh may have lost a thoughtful bishop but Scotland gained a unique social critic and commentator -- Alex Wood * * Lothian Life * *
This is a deeply moving and disturbing biography. Holloway, is a confident author, assured when recreating both the past and the feelings that moments evoked...A writer capable of considerable brilliance, an intellectual who can provoke thought, a genuinely good man trying to be better * * The Herald * *
Peppered with prose and poetry, the book underlines a profound love of literature. Holloway's own writing style is elegant and lucid, particularly when addressing religion -- James Carson * * The Skinny * *
This is an intellectual account which is thoughtful, starkly honest, and at moments touching in its understated wisdom and sensitivity . . . an engaging examination of an individual's growth as a compassionate human being -- Catherine Larner * * We Love this Book * *
It absorbs and refreshes the mind . . . it is the pleasure of following a good, restless mind through questions that afflict all but the most thoughtless -- John Lloyd * * Financial Times * *
Wise, sympathetic and absorbing . . . it is a profoundly humane vision of what religion should be -- Jenni Russell * * Sunday Times * *
Beautifully written and dramaturgically candid -- Pat Kane * * The Independent * *
Leaving Alexandria is a profound, personal investigation of the virtues and flaws of religion and the most stirring autobiography I have read in a great many years. It is also a meditation on the nature of one's own identity -- John Gray * * New Statesman * *
At a moment when religious and atheistic attitudes are becoming increasingly hardened, the former Bishop of Edinburgh offers a timely reminder that faith shares a greater philosophical affinity with doubt than with certainty . . . this wholly humane book chisels out an oasis for calm contemplation amid today's hysterical religious battlegrounds * * Metro * *
A beautifully written and often funny, emotional and intellectual self-exploration by one of the most extraordinary churchmen of our time -- Bryan Appleyard * * Sunday Times * *
His memoirs are not a chronicle of achievement but rather a study of failure and frustration. Marked by a searing honesty and an almost morbid sense of introspection, they make for a disturbing and unsettling read which brought me close to tears more than once * * The Tablet * *
[Leaving Alexandria] could have been a litany of self-justification, or an awakening to enlightenment. Instead, it's the book of his life: the engrossing log of a troubled, thoughtful, clouded journey from certainty to doubt -- Susannah Herbert * * Mail on Sunday * *
The book is beautifully written and full of wide knowledge of literature, art and music. It will help all who struggle to find the light. That means most of us * * West End Extra * *
This is a gentle, rational book that is required reading for today's troubled world * * Daily Telegraph * *
Leaving Alexandria is a profound, personal investigation of the virtues and flaws of religion and the most stirring autobiography I have read in a great many years * * New Statesman * *
Publishers like to describe autobiographies as 'journeys', but it's a term this book deserves -- Alastair Mabbott * * the Herald * *
There's something to cheer on almost every page here, not least his enviable honesty about his personal shortcomings -- Arminta Wallace * * Irish Times * *
This voyage of discovery is the core of this wonderfully written, poetic telling of his chequered life and was one of the most acclaimed memoirs of 2012 * * Good Book Guide * *
An intelligent and insightful book * * Sunday Business Post * *
Unsparingly honest * * Spectator * *

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“Leaving Alexandria”

Richard Holloway's "Leaving Alexandria" is a powerful, honest and moving book. Any Christian reading it will inevitably take a seriously realistic look at his/her own faith, and hopefully emerge the... More

Hardback edition
13th April 2012
Helpful? Upvote 53

“This book is just too damn quotable!”

I fell into the first half of the book as if it was an old friend.

This memoir reminded me of everything that is good about religion as well as everything that made me reject it. While reading it, I felt intense love... More

Paperback edition
28th June 2013
Helpful? Upvote 11

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