Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Leaving Alexandria, by Richard Holloway


Leaving Alexandria is the biography of Richard Holloway who was the controversial bishop of Edinburgh.

There was a lot I liked about Richard Holloway probably because I could identify with his story so much. About leaving a places, the disappointments of not fore-filling others and your own expectations. Of the doubts about Christianity and God.

A friend of my wrote on his blog RC theologian, Anthony Padovano:

“A Christian is someone who wants to give his [or her] life seriously for a noble objective. If he [or she] does not wish this, he [or she] is not a Christian. Every human life given generously for a lofty ideal is filled with regret as well as with joy. One of the most difficult things to accept in such a life is our failure to have done with our lives what we longed to accomplish. In a sense, this is the one cross we want least of all, the cross we never expected, the cross which is hardest to bear. Such a cross is all the more painful for those who, in the name of the cross, were once sure their lives would make a great difference”.

I couldn't help think that this fitted well with Holloway, and myself...

Most of the book is about stories of narratives of Holloway's past. I cannot help but read and hear at the same time a rich Scottich brough. I have an uncle who can make a fairly mundaine experience into an on the edge of your seat tale as he weaves words from his mouth. Holloway is a bit like this in his book. I Enjoyed his style.

Coming of age, and ones sexuality is a dominant theme, one complicated with religion. I was surprised by Holloway's honesty with his attraction to both male and female.

There were a number of time I felt the stories fell silent. Maybe to personal...

  • The theme of his sexuality came to an abrupt end with his marriage to his wife. In some ways I couldnt help think that it interrupted the flow of the book. I'm sure that marriage dosn't end all sexual issues..
  • I could not help wondering how his wife would have reacted to his confessions of homosexual love earlier in his life (Even if it was only thoughts).
I found the final chapters took away from the book. Even though I agreed with Holloway's position I found the religious politics, the power plays all a bit out of context of the book. Even though they are part of Holloway's story.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Absolutely loved this book - I shed a tear before the end of the first chapter!

Readers of Leaving Alexandria may be interested to know that Richard Holloway's acclaimed BBC Radio 4 series "Honest Doubt: The History of an Epic Struggle" is now available as both mp3 and written transcripts.

"A rich gift and definitely one worth sharing" - Gillian Reynolds, Daily Telegraph
"Made me stop in my tracks" - Thinking Liberal Review
"Thought provoking, enlightening, educational, moving, humbling. Too good to miss " - Daily Strength

MP3 Download - AudioGo

Written Transcripts - Amazon