Brendan Walsh

Life On The Inside

An Infinity of Little Hours: Five Young Men and their Trial of Faith in the Western World's Most Austere Monastic Order


Public Affairs 258pp £15.99 order from our bookshop

I don’t think anyone has tried to get under the skin of a group of monks in quite this way before. Nancy Klein Maguire closely follows the lives of five young men – Paddy, Hans, Bernie, Chuck and Dave – over five years between 1960 and 1965 as they each test their vocation as a monk at the St Hugh’s Charterhouse in Parkminster, Sussex. Founded 900 years ago by St Bruno in the mountain wilderness near Grenoble, the Carthusians are the most strictly enclosed order in the Catholic Church, living alone and in almost perpetual silence and prayer. The Trappist monk Thomas Merton described them as

the ones who have gone the furthest, climbed the highest, lifted themselves up above all the others, out of this world and concealed in God. All day long, except for offices in choir, the Carthusian is with God alone.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Start your week with a dose of Russian Revolutionary zeal. Donald Rayfield reviews Tobie Mathew's 'Greetings From t… ,
    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,
    • ‘Look,’ says Trump. ‘The fact is I’m only human.’ On the evidence of this book that point is debatable. From the A… ,
    • From our December/January issue - here's John Banville's review of Colm Tóibín on the fathers of Wilde, Yeats and J… ,