The Divine Economy of Salvation by Priscila UppalThe Divine Economy of Salvation by Priscila Uppal

The Divine Economy of Salvation

byPriscila Uppal

Paperback | January 14, 2003

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In an assured and sophisticated debut novel, celebrated poet Priscila Uppal crafts a dark and suspenseful tale about the crimes of youth that haunt adult life.

When she is sent away to a Catholic boarding school, Angela H. finds comfort and rebellion with a group of girls who call themselves The Sisterhood. On the verge of becoming women, the girls taunt and tempt each other with their budding sexuality. Angela’s festering sadness and frustration find a shocking target when the rituals of The Sisterhood take a violent turn at the initiation of angelic Bella.

Tormented by her past, Angela seeks refuge in a religious life, hiding herself in the sheltered world of a convent. Now, twenty-five years later, buried evidence of Bella’s death has emerged, threatening to shatter the safety of Angela’s existence and her belief that the sins of the past can be redeemed.

With startling emotional depth, Priscila Uppal captures the innocence and cruelty of adolescence, and takes us inside the rarely explored and shadowy world of female religious life.
Priscila Uppal has previously published three collections of poetry: How to Draw Blood from a Stone, Confessions of a Fertility Expert, and Pretending to Die. She is a professor with the Creative Writing Department at York University.
Title:The Divine Economy of SalvationFormat:PaperbackPublished:January 14, 2003Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385658052

ISBN - 13:9780385658058


Rated 5 out of 5 by from the divine economy of salvation Haunting. Simply beautiful. The constant need to re-read a paragraph because it is so perfect.
Date published: 2003-04-13

Read from the Book

My name was Angela H. then. You may remember me. We went to school together at St. X. School for Girls. I had long brown hair, cut at the waist in a single straight swipe, and I used to wear a tiny silver chain with a faux-gold locket in the shape of a heart, a picture of my mother inside. We knew each other. We all did. By name or by deed. Or at least I thought so at the time. I've had plenty of time here, plenty of time to think about the past and what we did know, or thought we knew, about what we, what I, have done. The air is thick as the stone walls with memories, with ghosts of us. I do not think it sacrilegious to speak so about ghosts. Jesus Christ is a ghost, the Holy Spirit is a ghost, the Bible tells us. I imagine God too, omnipresent and without form, is a ghost haunting my night. A wind in this darkness. I have food and water, a bed and paper. This is all I need.You may remember a few of the girls began a group, The Sisterhood, and we snuck out of our dormitory rooms to meet. You and I, we were invited to join. We met in the dark of the hallway, our movements anxious, almost animal, feeling our way to Room 313, Rachel's room, the girl with the shoulder-length blonde curls and light-green eyes, the one we wanted so to impress, the one we believed was the strongest. I can still smell the sweet perspiration, girls' clean preadolescent sweat. It is different from the sweat here, a grown woman's sweat we try to hide by doing the wash early in the morning after pacing in our rooms, restless, alone. The hard sweat of layers of clothing, the heavy habits if we choose to wear them, the blankets we pile on top of our bodies to keep us covered at night. Or the cold, blank sweat of the nightmares many of us have. Before I moved in here, I never would have thought so many nightmares should fill a place of God. Prince of Peace. But I guess we did know. We lived one of our own at St. X. School for Girls. Our sheets were washed then too. The stains of sin, Sister Marguerite would have said, her large chest pounding like a needle on a sewing machine. No one ever found out what happened in Room 313. That's the part that disturbs me most in the middle of the night in this tiny basement room, a single window the height and width of one of the bricks at ground level. I watch feet go by, have come to identify the different boarders and visitors by the kinds of shoes or boots they wear. By the noises they make treading on the grounds. How our footsteps changed. No one confessed, you know. The crosses that hung over blackboards and bulletin boards in the classrooms and the adjoining church were oblivious to our crime, and the nuns only punished us for the ordinary sins of daily living, the banal trespasses of girlhood. No one confessed, until now. If you choose to remain hidden, I will not expose you. But I must confess. It's time. Don't turn away. We held hands once in the dark. You may remember me.From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for The Divine Economy of Salvation:“A luminous debut . . . haunting, gripping, and surprisingly nuanced: begins as a simple mystery and turns into a work of great depth and seriousness.” -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review“To be this young and assured a storyteller, this insightful an observer of human nature is, if not the product of divine inspiration, at least very rare.” -- Ottawa Citizen“In its confident voice and its unsparing, concisely powerful narrative — like Margaret Lawrence at her best -- Divine Economy is an impressive debut.” -- The Globe and Mail“Uppal writes with a spare and sure effectiveness that is totally convincing and that Fraser Sutherland . . . likened to ‘Margaret Laurence at her best.’” -- Books in Canada“The Divine Economy of Salvation pours forth with all the power and passion of an oratorio.” -- The Toronto StarPraise for Priscila Uppal:“Her voice is coiled and powerful containing underlying passion, sometimes anger … simply beautiful.” -- National Post“Just when it seemed poetry had become the orphan art of our day, along comes a young poet like Priscila Uppal to astonish.” -- Rosemary Sullivan