- “Maguire has produced a vivid, gripping, and deeply touching picture of a world that is now lost. For an outsider to enter such a closed society and to capture its essence is an astonishing achievement: this is a work of history, but it has all the best qualities of a psychological novel.”
Professor of the History of the Church, University of Oxford
- “Nancy Klein Maguire has written a book that challenges us. Its discussion of a religious order that lives a life more ascetic than anyone I have met could sustain and yet a life that, even in the telling of it, forces us to recognize that craving for God that is deep in each of us. And the tale of five men who strove to live that life made me, and I am sure it will make most readers, recognize the empty plenty with which we crowd our own lives.”
Professor of British and Irish History, University of Cambridge, Ordained Permanent Deacon in the Roman Catholic Diocese of East Anglia, England.
- “This is an extraordinary book, and an amazing achievement… All the interviews and recordings you must have conducted don’t add up to what you have achieved here.”
—J. G. A. Pocock
Professor Emeritus of History, Johns Hopkins University
- “You have created an extraordinarily detailed account, with remarkable insight into the minds of the five—and others. . . . The wealth of exact detail gives great authority to your account. But that is just the framework. It’s your penetration of each one’s disposition and interior development that is most fascinating. The responsibility with which you have approached your subject shows thoroughness and enviable objectivity. Your sources were clearly exhaustive. The resulting insight into the Carthusian challenge has the ring of first hand familiarity, which gives enormous validity to your work.”
—An ex-Carthusian of twenty-some years
- “As a former novice with the Carthusians, I found the book to be the best description available of what it is like to join the Carthusian Order. It is obvious that the author spent a great deal of time with members and ex-members of the Order since it captures the experience of being a Carthusian novice, with its many joys and many challenges. I found myself mentally transported back to my days in the Charterhouse. For anyone who wants to understand the real experience of being a Carthusian novice, it is essential reading.”
—Rev. Msgr. Stephen J. Rossetti PhD DMin
Diocese of Syracuse
- “Nancy Klein Maguire’s account of the quest of five young men to become Carthusians in the period immediately before the Second Vatican Council is admirably written and shows deep sympathetic insight. Only on two or three minor points did I feel she might be inaccurate, but then my own experience in the charterhouse lies nearly forty years back, and Parkminster clearly was not Sélignac so maybe the observance varied on minor points. In any event, this is an admirably researched study, which can be recommended to readers of the Analecta Cartusiana as giving an authentic portrait of life in the Carthusian novitiate in Parkminster at the period in question.”
Analecta Cartusiana (2006), 238:142.
- “I really am overwhelmed by the richness of content, the beauty and humor of so many descriptions, the little details, and your incredible insight. Really it’s as if you had lived with us in disguise for five years.”
Carthusian of the 1960’s
- “It’s surely one of the most meaningful books I’ve ever read. It’s like reading my diary. It is the best inside view of the Carthusian life ever written! I’m sure that’s true. How many such books are there? Not many, and none with so many personal accounts. Thanks ever so much for doing it. It will be one of my treasures. It’s extremely well written and with an imaginative approach.”
—Fr. Bob Wild
Carthusian at Parkminster from 1957-59
- “I sent a copy of Infinity to my sister in Las Vegas. She devoured it and asked me a hundred questions that she has had pent up for forty years and was afraid to ask. So your book set her free.”
—Bob Briden, former Carthusian brother
- “It is perhaps the most successful book about us by an outsider going into details such as only a woman could detect.”
—A current Carthusian of Parkminster
- “I just finished reading, for the second time, “An Infinity of Little Hours” by Nancy Maguire. I will place this book among others in my book case….and probably will take it down another time to re-read it. I don’t think I have ever been moved so much by a book with the exception of Merton’s: ” Seven Story Mountain “.
— Claude King
- I loved the book and very much admire the author’s mastery of nonfiction narrative, as well as the seeming simplicity of her writing. The “voice” in this book beautifully matches the subject matter. We actually lived near the South Downs when we were in England the first time, so I could picture much of what the author was describing.
- Reading “An Infinity of Little Hours” will take your breath away. Nancy Klein Maguire’s carefully chosen words beckons the reader to a simpler world. Maguire captures the routine of the Carthusian monks, revealing their cloistered days in such detail that they appear to be walking through the book, imparting deep spiritual wisdom as they go. This book is a “must” for any serious reader, especially those on spiritual journeys. I stayed up until 1:30 a.m. to finish reading it, and now I’m reading it a second time.
—Nancy Wright Beasley
Author of Izzy’s Fire: Finding Humanity in the Holocaust.
- Maguire’s book is a thorough view into the hopes, struggles and beliefs of novices entering a charterhouse in the 1960s…a voyage through words, taking a reader to where my film may take the viewer through images and time. A remarkable and touching book.”
Filmmaker, Director of INTO GREAT SILENCE
- Being a cradle Catholic, monastic life has always held a mysterious aura for me. So, too, has contemplative prayer. This year, I have been part of a church group studying this particular type of prayer. When I heard about An Infinity of Little Hours, I was instantly interested. The book was very easy to read. The characters were developed well, so I really cared about what happened to them. And I especially loved all the pictures. They brought the monastery to life. As I was reading, I often thought of friends I wanted to share the book with. In the end, I bought 20 copies. Everyone’s response was the same as mine. We couldn’t get enough of those monks. I, for one, had to read it again. Thanks, Nancy Klein Maguire for sharing all you learned.
Arlington Heights, Illinois
- “When my wife is weary, I read to her. An Infinity of Little Hours has been an inspiration to us… there is something of the spirituality you capture so brilliantly that speaks to us in our present state … I read it as a confused Christian, and am greatly sustained by its power and empathetic exploration of the relationship of Carthusian and God… It is wonderful.”
—Husband of wife dying of cancer
- “About a week ago, I finished reading An Infinity of Little Hours, but I haven’t finished thinking about it. It was one of the most personally satisfying books I have read. It is also one of the most useful books as well. Without simplifying too much your efforts, it causes me to question more frequently whether a decision or ‘fight’ is really that important or worth it in the context of one’s life.”
Morrison Associates, Ltd.
- “If you want to see inside the mind of the solitary contemplative or if you want to be inspired by human determination to succeed in the face of spiritual trials, you will be as moved by this book as I am. Ex-members of religious orders (and they are many!) will be delighted and encouraged by the way this book presents apparent vocational failures as a stage in a lifelong journey of the soul. . . .The monastic contemplative life is here exposed, warts and all, in the form of a thoroughly compelling read. It is also bursting with quotes from the Carthusian tradition and actual statements from the monks (and ex-monks) of Parkminster that give much material for meditation and reflection.”
—Norman R. Davies
Granada, Spain, Visitor to Parkminster in 1974
- “I think the minutiae of monastic life is where the book gets its start and its energy. Those that stay, now those are the interesting ones, even those who stay for a few years because they take this routine and this new life experience, and mingle it all in their growth and new experiences at the monastery. These men are real and interesting to know about.”
—Julie Van Doren
- “I kept on reading. All the unfamiliar Catholic words just swept right by me. I am fascinated that these men vowed to silence liked to talk so much! They each had different ways of coping. Dom Philip seemed to use his brain to cope.”
—Dr. Patricia Hammick
- Nancy Klein Maguire’s latest book is a tapestry of impeccable research, design, and writing workmanship. It tells the dramatic story of a rich and mysterious way of contemplative life, which may well soon disappear forever, and to which no one outside the Carthusian Order had ever before been granted such intimate access. It is a spiritually uplifting book, and should be, I believe, of particular interest to those who know little about monastic and contemplative life, and may be curious because they themselves are so “interconnected” that they barely have time to retire into their own thoughts. It is a superb history of religious rites dating back, almost unchanged, to the 11th century. Most of all, it is a suspenseful adventure story about five young men, who during the era of Vietnam and the Cold War, undertook a remarkable quest, and about what they encountered along the way. It is a rare and pleasurable reading experience to encounter all those elements artfully and powerfully combined in one book. I have reread it several times, and will do so again.
Author and Management Consultant
- "An Infinity of Little Hours had special meaning for me because I left high school in 1961 to enter the seminary at a Benedictine Monastery in Cullman, Alabama. . . . The contemplative monastic routine is an attractive escape from the survival pressures of world living. Having finally chosen the chaotic worldly course and by society’s standard becoming highly successful, I found An Infinity of Little Hours reinforcing the basic values that underlie my life successes causing me to re-focus on those foundation years at St. Bernard’s."
—John C. Erickson
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Erickson Retirement Communities
- “An Infinity of Little Hours was a great help to John when he was dying. He was fascinated by the austere life which almost seemed a prison of God. He felt it was great to capture the monks’ thoughts.”
—Widow of ALS Victim
- One woman wrote: “my husband suggested that I read your book. To be honest, I was not enthusiastic—a history of monks did not appeal to me. However I gave it a try and was absolutely enthralled.”
—Wife of an historian
- “Having been fascinated by the Carthusians for many years now, I was particularly keen to read about the sort of people who were called to their lifestyle. I was not disappointed. It was a glorious read—spiritual and yet human.”
- “[Maguire] seems to feel a genuine rapport with the people whose lives and thoughts she describes. She really gets into their skin and explains both their pleasures and their pain with affection and understanding.”
—Newhousenewnewjob.blogspot.com (June, 2007)
- “We are cloistered nuns. Your book is amazing! You have been able to get to the core of contemplative life like no outsider ever has. I saw myself in every page… my struggles, joys, boredoms and crisis were all there. I laughed at the infinity of details that we have in common with the Carthusians. And, yes, I’m very familiar with “the dark force” that kept reappearing throughout the book as regularly as it does around here! Thank you for writing such a wonderful book. I think it should be “required reading” in our Novitiate!”
—A Discalced Carmelite
- “You know that wonderful sensation of reading an extremely well written book–how it just seems to flow effortlessly as you read, and then lingers with you when you’re done? That was Infinity for me. In the end, we are enchanted by the monks who persevere in the life, but also embrace the men who leave, fully sharing their relief. Maguire is a gifted writer; her prose is like freshly made butter, smooth and delicious. I think I could read anything she chose to write next, and plan to.”
Government Manager and Independent Scholar
- “I just finished An Infinity of Little Hours and it knocked my socks off. I live with a former monk; he read it as well and in typical understated fashion pronounced it pretty accurate.”
New York, New York