Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Words Matter on Estillyen

Messages from Estillyen brings together the two previous works by William E. Jefferson: The Point: The Redemption of Oban Ironbout; and Redemption: Twelve Readings from the Monks of Estillyen. In Messages we have the story from The Point with the readings from Redemption interspersed with Hollie and Godwin's experience on Estillyen. I think this is a more successful book than either by itself.

In The Point, a young couple Hollie and Godwin Macbreeze journey to the beautiful island of Estillyen on a month long pilgrimage to hear the lectures on redemption. Hollie is facing a difficult diagnosis and is more interested in the lectures than Godwin. He is fulfilling a boyhood ambition to see the cottage on the point that he calls My Cottage Rare. He drew a picture of the cottage when he was a child from a photograph made by his grandfather, and it has haunted him ever since.

Hollie and Godwin both enjoy the lectures, but Godwin also finds the cottage and meets Oban Ironbout. It changes life for both of them and for Hollie.

In Redemption the readings given in summary form in the Point are produced in full. The twelve readings are done by the monks in various settings around the island. I enjoyed the descriptions of the settings almost as much as the readings. Estillyen would be a place I'd like to visit.

The readings are done by the monks. One monk, the reader, presents relevant scripture passages, the other takes the role of a doubter, or Satan. The readings emphasize the relationship between the medium, the word, and the message. Words gain importance because of who says them. Christ's words are important because of the concepts they express, but most of all because he says them.

The combination of The Point and Redemption in one volume that knits the story of Oban Ironbout together with the readings on redemption has more impact than either book alone because the story is an example of what the readings are about.

I recommend this book. The story is interesting and the readings draw you in because the language is perfect for the setting. You feel as if you're present at the readings with Hollie and Godwin.