Excellent and groundbreaking novel, constantly in print since first in 1959. Three sections: postapocalyptic North America, 26th century, after the "simplification," and deep in a dark age; 600 years later, when "memorabilia" faithfully preserved in an isolated monastery becomes the seed for the resurrection of lost information and technology; and 600 years after that, when... Well, ya just gotta read it!
A Canticle for Leibowitz is a cautionary tale set in a post apocalyptic America which emphasizes the adage that those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it. This book is actually three separate stories but all very much related and important for understanding the message of the book. The first story is probably the most popular and interesting of the three, which relates the tale of a monk in the New Mexico desert many years after a nuclear war has happened and the great lengths his order goes through to preserve knowledge. The second story takes place years later but relates to the things that the monks had done. The third story takes place perhaps a century or more later and is probably the most important part of the book and also somewhat less interesting and hard to follow, but once you understand what the third part is about, it brings the story full circle and delivers the final message that the author is trying to express. Shocking and poignant, A Canticle for Leibowitz is a true classic science fiction novel that should be read by pretty much everyone interested in the genre. 5/5 Stars.
I stumbled across this book in college and was blown away. Reading it again almost twenty years later, I found it hadn't lost any of its impact. I'm going to recommend it to my book club when my turn comes round again. The characters are real; their situation, though dated at points, is hauntingly affecting; their decisions, though not the ones I might have made in their place, ring true for them. The writing is sharp and lucid throughout. Sadly, I've learned that in the time between my two readings of this book, the author--who never wrote another novel after this--took his own life (a tragedy further compounded by the anti-suicide argument that takes up the last third of the book).
This is science fiction, but science fiction like 1984 or Brave New World. To break out of the (unfortunate but undeniable) science fiction ghetto, this book deserves to be filed under Classics.
Fascinating, futuristic novel depicting the rebirth of humanity and society after the earth's devastation. The Library Journal calls it "exciting, imaginative," and "unconditionally recommended."
It's considered a science fiction classic, and I'd agree that at least two thirds of this book is a pretty good story, concerning the preservation of knowledge in a post-apocalyptic world. It's inventive and interesting to read. But I found the last third to be verbose, convoluted, and self-important, and I couldn't bring myself to care one way or another about the end.