The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Dec 18, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 336 pages
17 Reviews
In 1962, at age seventeen, Karen Armstrong entered a convent, eager to meet God. After seven brutally unhappy years as a nun, she left her order to pursue English literature at Oxford. But convent life had profoundly altered her, and coping with the outside world and her expiring faith proved to be excruciating. Her deep solitude and a terrifying illness–diagnosed only years later as epilepsy–marked her forever as an outsider. In her own mind she was a complete failure: as a nun, as an academic, and as a normal woman capable of intimacy. Her future seemed very much in question until she stumbled into comparative theology. What she found, in learning, thinking, and writing about other religions, was the ecstasy and transcendence she had never felt as a nun. Gripping, revelatory, and inspirational, The Spiral Staircase is an extraordinary account of an astonishing spiritual journey.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Review: The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness

User Review  - Rachielle - Goodreads

In the Spiral Staircase, Karen Armstrong writes about her emergence into the real world after leaving the convent, where she was a Catholic nun for seven years. In it, she chronicles her climb out of ... Read full review

Review: The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness

User Review  - Jobiska (Cindy) - Goodreads

Oh, darn it. I am trying to read through books that I don't plan to keep in order to lighten the load on my shelves. I was really enjoying this work, which is an entertaining, touching memoir that ... Read full review

All 17 reviews »


Title Page
The Devil of the Stairs
Renounce the Blessed Face
Consequently I Reoioe
About the Author

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About the author (2007)

Karen Armstrong is the author of numerous other books on religious affairs, including A History of God, The Battle for God, Through the Narrow Gate, Holy War, Islam, and Buddha. Her work has been translated into forty languages. She is also the author of three television documentaries and took part in Bill Moyers’s television series Genesis. Since September 11, 2001, she has been a frequent contributor to conferences, panels, newspapers, periodicals, and throughout the media on both sides of the Atlantic on the subject of Islam. She lives in London.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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