The Naked Name of Love

Sanjida O’Connell

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naked_name_of_loveThe Naked Name of Love

The Naked Name of Love, was published in paperback in January 2010 by John Murray.

…startlingly original…piercingly intelligent and very exciting…

In 1865, as Darwin’s new theory of evolution begins to sweep aside old certainties, a young Jesuit priest and plant-hunter sets out into an unknown world. He is driven by twin passions: for science and for his faith. Travelling acros the Eastern Steppes of Mongolia in the company of a Buddhist monk and a local horseman, Joseph’s journey is fraught with danger, both physical and spiritual. But it is Namuunaa, the gifted shaman woman who saves his life, who offers a greater challenge: she will teach him what it is to love.

A story of East meeting West and of a love that transcends culture, faith and ultimately, tragedy, this is both a novel on an epic scale and an astonishingly intimate story.
I gave you my wolf and I would have tamed an eagle for you. I have waited to see you again when none believed that you should ever return; I would have waited for ever.

We are like two wild birds destined to blow where the wilderness of the wind takes us. Your spirit is as untrammelled as an eagle’s, as loyal, as courageous. It is the secret of our souls; what we have, we have for ever.

Reviews of The Naked Name of Love on Amazon

4* ‘Enchanting, engrossing, atmospheric

4* ‘A compelling story…I read this as part of a Book Group, and not only did I enjoy the book but I also thought it one of the most interesting and well-written of those that we have read as a group

4* ‘a thoroughly enjoyable, touching read that may get you to reflect on what lenghts you would go to to achieve your goals

Reviews on GoodReads

5* ‘The story of two worlds colliding; worlds that ought to have been disparate.
Violences and harsh realities underscore the beauty of the narrative and the juxtaposition elicits the spiritual experience of the protagonist, providing him with much, much more than he went to Mongolia looking for, and causing him to shed aspects of himself he had considered unalienable.
Whilst the violent scenes are uncompromising, this reader sensed it was necessary for these to be depicted, not only for the narrative, but to appreciate that what is described only goes some way to explain the brutality of the Mongolian physical and historical landscape, and how it has remained an outpost to this day.
And the love story that is central to the book will leave you aching!’ Iznya

4* ‘I was crying at the end of the book.’ Alyson

Here’s a clip of me chatting about my third novel, The Naked Name of Love, on Youtube

Questions about The Naked Name of Love for Book Clubs / Readers Groups:

How and why does Joseph stay true to his faith? Is it initially because of gratitude to the church who ‘saved’ him as a boy?

To what extent is Joseph trapped by his religion? To what extent are the nomads free in comparison?

What is Joseph able to learn from Mendo?

Although Mendo and Joseph talk about God and Buddhism, does either of them alter their view point?

How is Joseph able to reconcile his beliefs about God with his views on evolution?

To what extent does Joseph reconcile his beliefs about God with his views on love?

Joseph travels to Outer Mongolia to bring back flora and fauna. In particular, he hopes to find a rare white lily. What is acceptable to take from another country?

Why does Joseph really go back to Namuunaa’s tribe?

What does the novel tell you about love?

How much is Joseph changed by his ordeal?

Could Joseph have behaved differently?

What are the themes of the book?