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Laurus

by Eugene Vodolazkin

I always try to see the best in every book I read. Some are more difficult than others. However, despite its subject matter and difficult Russian wording, a true and moral character appeared - a man with many names: Arseny/Amvrosy/Laurus. A kind man, a healer, a visionary who carries his grief and guilt in his heart. His friendship with Ambrogio is incredibly touching and sad. Not the easiest of reads but well worth getting to the end.

Extract

People with broken bones were brought to him. Arseny aligned their bones and stretched pieces of linen and a medicinal ointment over the injured places, to cover them. This was the flower mallow, which has been boiled in wine from another land. He gave them blackthorn juice with ground cornflowers to drink. These ailing people patiently wore their dressings and drank the remedy every morning for eight days. And their bones knitted together.
People burned in fires and scalded by boiling water were brought to him. Arseny applied linen with ground cabbage and egg white to the burns. He sprinkled the burns with cinnabar when changing dressings. He gave an infusion of the magical herb known as ephiliya to those with burns. Their burns began to heal over and scar after a short time.
Translated by Lisa C Hayden

Parallels

Faith Healer by Brian Friel
Someone: Medieval Russian Epics by Serge Zenkovsky
 

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