Monday, November 15, 2021

Review of "The Life of Saint Nicholas," by R. O. Blechman

 Review of

The Life of Saint Nicholas, by R. O. Blechman, ISBN 9781556705069

Five out of five stars

Not historically accurate, but still a fun read

 There was indeed an actual Saint Nicholas. He lived from 270 to 343 CE and generally resided in Asia Minor. Very little historical facts are known about his life other than he was a Christian bishop and was known for giving gifts. There are many legends of his purported miracles, such as calming a stormy sea, the resurrection of murdered children and saving innocent soldiers from being punished. These stories first appeared in print long after his death, so it is likely that they were significantly embellished years after his death.

 Knowing this, reading this book and the supposed miracles of Saint Nicholas must be done with a heavy tilt towards the belief that it is fiction. Blechman is well known as a cartoonist for “The New Yorker” magazine and he has a distinctive, minimalist style. He is also a talented purveyor of puns and wordplay, which emphasizes the fictional nature of the story.

 As long as you don’t take the listed actions of Nicholas too seriously, this is a fun book of mythology about a real man that has inspired great legends that are acted on once a year with great exuberance and joy, especially for children.

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