The Song of Bernadette tells the story of Bernadette Soubirous who claimed to have visions of Mary, the mother of God in Lourdes, France in 1858.
This story is long and slow. I decided to listen to the audiobook while walking in the mornings and it turned out to be a really good decision. If I had read the book, I would only have been able to read a few pages at a time.
The author was hiding out from the Nazis in Lourdes and states that he made a promise to God to tell the story of Bernadette. While this may sound as if the book will be complete indoctrination, it is not. Werfel clearly is sympathetic and partial to Bernadette, as the inhabitants of Lourdes likely were when telling the story, but the skepticism of and inquiries into the visions are also retold. For those who are religious or love to read about the lives of saints, I believe you will find this story to be inspiring. If you do not, this book is not for you.
Werfel does a good job of portraying Bernadette's experiences and his characters are well developed. It was an interesting story but there is not a whole lot of action in it. However, Werfel does portray the consequences of Bernadette's claims in all arenas- family, community, political and religious. The depiction of those aspects, while slow-paced, is also noteworthy because the narrative is more comprehensive.
I listened to the Audible.com version of The Song of Bernadette which is read by Johanna Ward. Ward does an excellent job; the recording is clear and lively.
3 out of 5 stars.
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