"Song of the Turtle is a story of deep love, great tragedy and the beautiful
spirit of the people of El Salvador during the civil war of the 1980s. When
they rose up against the rich and powerful who oppressed them, their bravery and
sacrifice were not known by most Americans.
Song of the Turtle offers unforgettable stories of these wise and brave Salvadorans and a Jesuit priest who accompanied and served them in their struggle for a good future their children. I promise these very human men, women and children will touch you in many ways. You will never again see today’s desperate Central American refugees without your heart being moved. You may even want to help them."
-- Jose Artiga, Executive Director, SHARE El Salvador
"The title of Song of the Turtle, is taken from the Song of Songs, a book of the Bible. People are often surprised to learn that a book in the Bible is about human physical love. Yet, such a love can birth a bond and transparency for which the human soul yearns.
In this novel Jamie, a Jesuit priest, and Sarah, a biblical scholar, meet in a powerful attraction. As their closeness deepens, Jamie anguishes over his vow of celibacy, and Sarah fears she will harm Jamie's deep sense of himself as priest. It is a gripping narrative of two exceptional souls.
When Jamie feels drawn to minister in El Salvador during the war there in the 1980s, he and Sarah join their love and lives with God's love for the suffering people of El Salvador.
The most privileged place to meet God is our particular moment of history. At the center of Song of the Turtle, there is an unrelenting gaze on what is happening in history. Yet a humanity emerges that is equally unrelenting. Every spirituality, every theology, every religion must take its measure from the moment of history in which it emerges and lives. Song of the Turtle is masterful! It coheres! It is poetic! It is prophetic! I am blessed by it!"
-- Friar Matt Tumulty
"It’s strange for a nice Jewish girl to fall in love with a Jesuit priest, but that's
what happened to me when I “met” Father Jamie Quinn in Song of the Turtle!
He has to be one of most appealing men in modern fiction. I could hardly
put the book down as I followed the unusual couple in this novel, feeling
like I was a good friend sharing intimately in the joys and pains of their
love story. I found the humor between Jamie and Sarah particularly engaging.”
-- Mona Kreaden, Strategic Adviser, The Transition Network, NYC
"The feminist embodiment of spirituality at the core of this novel is a love which transcends the dualisms at the center of patriarchy and Catholicism. It is not the "so-called" love that abandons and denies the human, but one that can only flourish in mutuality and connection. Because this Love has broken Jamie open, he goes to El Salvador not as a rescuer from a superior country, but as a man who can share himself without ego."
The author courageously sets out a crucial and timely dialogue about Love itself in which readers will participate — to the benefit of our world—far beyond the novel’s end. Of course, you could also read this novel as a compelling love story between two appealing people—your choice. Song works brilliantly on both levels."
-- Elise Peeples, author of The Emperor Has A Body: Body-Politics in the Between, When Things Happen to People: The Field Beyond Good and Bad, and Strands, a novel.
"As case after case of child abuse hits the newspapers, people are outraged. But where is the serious consideration of the efficacy of celibacy? This beautifully-written and honest novel examines the range of human emotions that are caught
up in the net of abstinence. Jamie, a priest finding himself between a rock and a hard place, chooses vulnerability and aliveness. This fresh look at celibacy allows us to go deeper into the issue than we may ever have dared to venture before."
-- Adam David Miller, prize-winning poet, and author of Ticket to Exile: A Memoir
"If you are not Catholic, you may be tempted to ignore this book in which a priest and feminist theologian come together in profound, always sensuous but never sensational ways. Isn’t the whole question of celibacy so outmoded that a priest who loves a woman should just give up his church and find a way to serve God better with the woman he loves at his side? Not if the priest in question is Father Jamie Quinn and his true love is feminist theologian Sarah Caffaro.
In the gifted hands of Ms. Angle, the story of Jamie and Sarah quickly melts assumptions of what such a romance should be like, plunging us deeply into their unique and universal story of how love really lives in two very human, very spiritually committed people. Their courage shows in many forms and venues, often mixed with playfulness and laughter. Enjoy."
-- Pat McHenry Sullivan, author of Work with Meaning, Work with Joy: Bringing Your Spirit to Any Job
"Like any true love story, this one takes life in a union of human and divine passion that challenges our lovers' ideas – and by the magic of how we identify with stories, our own concepts – of who and what we really are. ‘Song of the Turtle’ is a tale about
appealing, articulate people caught between the transcendent beauty of religious ritual and the stupidity of institutional rules, played out from the academic hills of Berkeley to the killing fields of El Salvador. I strongly recommend this novel for its playful humor, its erudition and its pathos. In the timeless
conflict between love and duty, in a terrain between heaven and hell, we wonder what can survive."
-- Michael Baugh
"One of the most satisfying experiences to have when reading a book is to be transported to another place. To
momentarily leave your current environment and awareness and be lifted into a moment so beautifully described that you are within it completely. Reading Song of the
Turtle is such an experience. It is written with elegance. It is a novel I am enjoying to the fullest. The character development is excellent in that it brings you
deeply into the lives of Jamie and Sarah as you explore their emotional truths with them. Read this book! It is a gift you will remember. It is full of grace."
"I have never before read a book like Song of the Turtle. Jamie and Sarah are such richly drawn characters they become people that you would love to have as friends. And you get to experience all the intricacies of their growing relationship. It is heartfelt, funny, scary and heartbreakingly honest. I was cheering for them all the way. This book actually got my husband and I talking about our relationship and the possibility of going deeper into the waters of emotional intimacy."
-- Barbara Lodman
"A powerful and spiritual love novel passionately written with a flare for visually understanding the heartfelt life experiences of two individuals. I loved it."
-- Karen Rigoli
"Read when Archbishop Romero was being canonized as a saint in the Catholic Church, and as an alarming number of reports of clergy sexual abuse and subsequent diocesan cover-ups exploded in the news, 'Song of the Turtle' oddly -- profoundly -- affirms the integrity of a Jesuit priest who braves the uncharted waters of intimacy with a woman while wrestling with the ramifications of his (non-negotiable) call to the priesthood. Their love story is brightened by their shared wit, insightful references to scripture, and their mutual trust in surrendering to the heights and depths and strengths of love.
The first chapters of the book read as a lyric memoir: pleasant and ebullient scenes captured with an appreciation for sensual beauty and familial love. This "lightness" is then counter-weighted by the vivid scenes of war-torn El Salvador: children maimed or worse, a mother's decent into traumatic shock, the bleakness and yet the hope of the people ravaged by war. But love of God and the lovers' love for one another tie these two worlds together.
Never preachy or heavy-handed, Ms. Angle invites the reader to consider new understandings of life's complexity beyond conventional "wisdom". Wisdom? It is the threads of love woven between, through and beyond the lovers' lives that unfold a path of wisdom for these two seekers of truth, and all the lives they touch."
-- Chela Sloper