by Nikos Kazantzakis
A fictionalized account of the saint's life, as told by his assistant Brother Leo. A powerful, thought-provoking work. Kazantzakis ponders: How can there be two ways to Paradise, one of effort but also one of ease? How can there be Paradise as long as anyone is not saved (is in Hell)? Mostly, like Last Temptation, it was about struggle, but the struggle to shun the earthly in everything – although it's noted that the urge for heaven can be a temptation as well (pride). I wondered how much is fact – did Francis really meet the Sultan? Go on Crusades? The book also points out that loving God might be easier without struggle (if we eat, for example, we pray with a clearer head). One basic flaw that hurts the book as narrative: a lack of continuity throughout – a sense of unconnected events instead.